Arise: Naboth’s Vineyard, Ahab’s Vice, and God’s Vengeance – Part 2November 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Arise, Biblical friendship | 8 Comments
Tags: 1 Kings 18, 1 Kings 21, 2 Kings 9, Ahab, Arise, covetousness, Elijah, gay marriage, gay pride parade, Jezebel, King Ahab, Michael Jackson, Payday Someday, poison pen letters, R.G. Lee, R.G. Lee quotes, tough love, Truth about Jesus
In Part 1 we met:
I. The Pious Patriarch (Naboth)
II. The Pouting Potentate (Ahab)
Now we will meet Jezebel, the wife of Ahab.
III. The Poisonous Puppeteer
And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
I Kings 21:7
This is so characteristic of how the devil works. Lacking the ability to know the thoughts and intents of every heart the way God does, he watches and observes… Until it’s time for him to “arise.” He rises like a serpent with its head poised to strike. He finds someone who is saying no to God’s way – someone who loves things more than God – someone who loves self more than God. Then the devil arises, and he strikes, and he tells his servants to arise. Beware of the poison of those who will manipulate you at the behest of the devil.
Jezebel knew just which strings to pull. She injected the poison of greed and covetousness, and she started to put on the devil’s own puppet show.
Take a moment to figuratively look around you right now. Who has hold of your strings today? Are you surrounded by good and Godly friends? People who will hold you accountable in tough love? Who will tell you when you’re sinfully pouting? Or do you have acquaintances who are working for the devil? You can recognize them by the way they always have a soothing word – they’re quick to tell you just what you want to hear. And secretly they are pulling the strings and they are moving your hands away from prayer and the Bible. They are moving your feet away from the church house. They are pulling your eyelids open until the wee hours on Saturday night, and holding them down on Sunday morning. You need to ask God to cut those strings.
When Jezebel started pulling the strings for her devilish puppet show, she played a masterpiece of evil. First, she forged Ahab’s name on a poison pen letter.
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
I Kings 21:8
Then, she blasphemed God by pretending that someone in Jezreel had sinned against Him and Ahab.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
I Kings 21:9
To be “set on high” was not an honor. It was to be placed in the seat of the accused. Naboth, who had honored God, was being falsely accused of dishonoring God. When the devil says “arise,” there are always plenty of his children eager to do his bidding. Jezebel brought out two puppets to bear false witness.
And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.
I Kings 21:13
Covetousness led to lying, and to blasphemy, and to theft, and to murder. Never kid yourself that the sin of coveting what your neighbor has is a harmless or a minor little fault.
II Kings 9:26 tells us that not only did these sons of Belial, these worthless puppets – playing on the ends of their strings for their evil puppet-master Jezebel – kill Naboth, but they took his little sons out and killed them, too. They did this so that Ahab would not have to contend with any heirs to Naboth’s vineyard.
If you play with sin, sin will play with you. And if sin plays with you, it will wreck your life. If you fool around with sin, sin will make a fool out of you.
Sin will take you further than you wanted to go.
Sin will teach you more than you wanted to know.
It will keep you longer than you wanted to stay.
It will cost you more than you wanted to pay.
So far, we have seen two despicable characters: Ahab, the Pouting Potentate, and his manipulative and evil wife, Jezebel, the Poisonous Puppeteer. We have seen one person in this whole account who has acted honorably: Naboth, the Pious Patriarch. And he and his beloved sons have been killed for their trouble.
Now we will see that when someone arises to the cause of God, and then the devil and his minions arise to do battle, the outlook is not always rosy from start to finish. When the devil says “arise,” sometimes his victims are struck down. But aren’t you glad that, even though Satan has his followers to whom he can say “arise,” God has His man to whom He can say “arise?”
And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
I Kings 21:17-18
IV. The Pestering Prophet
Elijah was Ahab’s and Jezebel’s old foe. He did not live in a palace like Ahab. He was from the little town of Tish. He did not wear fancy clothes like Ahab. He wore rough clothes. He did not dine on delicacies and herbs like Ahab. He had a strange diet in the wilderness. But underneath his rough exterior, he had a pure heart, a holy devotion to God. Ahab’s fine garments covered a corrupt, rotten heart.
Ahab wandered through the vineyard that Jezebel had got for him with treachery. We might wonder if a shadow suddenly fell across his path: the shadow of Elijah the prophet.
I call Elijah the pestering prophet not because he was a pest in general, but because in the days when Ahab’s wife and yes-men encouraged every frivolous sin he indulged in, Elijah alone was the one voice who would not condone, who not go along, who would not soften his tone, who would not bow before the throne of the wicked.
And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
I Kings 21:20
Elijah was not really Ahab’s “enemy.” No, he was the only friend he had in all the land. Your best friend is the one who tells you the most truth. Elijah was no more Ahab’s enemy than Christians who are intolerant of sin are the enemies of a nation. We live in a day and age when we are not only allowed to sin, not only tempted to sin, not only encouraged to sin, but praised and honored for being good at sin. We tolerate everything in this world – except intolerance.
Liberalism says that everyone is free to do what he wants – except to tell the Truth about Jesus. We don’t want Christ in anything anymore. We are not supposed to talk about celebrating Christ’s birth in December – we’re just supposed to say “Seasons Greetings.” We are not supposed to celebrate Resurrection Day – we are supposed to have “spring break.” We don’t pray in our schools anymore – we’re too busy reminding our kids that they came from an amoeba or a monkey. A man can fornicate with a man or a woman with a woman – and celebrate it in a parade. But if you stand up and say the Bible says it’s not marriage, it’s sin, then you’re guilty of a hate crime! When a missionary or a pastor or a Christian father or mother who was faithful for 60 years dies, it’s not on the news. Because if it were on the news, it would have to interrupt the spectacular tribute to some idol whose great contribution to society was wearing a sequined glove and walking backwards while pretending to walk forward! According to today’s society it’s narrow-minded, close-minded, “everybody who rejects Jesus is going to hell” Christians who are the only problem we have in this country. And that’s the way it’s portrayed in the media.
Ahab called Elijah “my enemy.” “Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” And this wasn’t the first time Ahab had taken this attitude toward Elijah. After Elijah had told Ahab it was not going to rain, he went to see him after three years of drought.
And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
I Kings 18:17
That’s what the government – that’s what society – that’s what popular culture – is saying to Christians today: “You are the ones who are troubling America.” One day – and it might be soon – they’re going to see just what this world will be like without Christians troubling it – and they’re not going to like it one bit.
I. The Pious Patriarch
II. The Pouting Potentate
III. The Poisonous Puppeteer
IV. The Pestering Prophet
In Part 3, we will examine the Preeminent Precept.