DEVOTION:What A God! He Is Truly Gracious and Merciful!
There are more lessons to learn from this story of Ahab and Naboth. However, I cannot wait another day without mentioning what happened at the end of this story. Ahab has committed murder in order to take over Naboth’s vineyard. This evil act caused the Lord to pronounced immediate punishment on Ahab and his family. And because Ahab had caused Israel to commit many other sins, the punishment would also affect all Israel. Here is how it develops:
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’” 1 Kings 21:17-19
Do you remember the incident in Mt Carmel? Well, Elijah has not met with King Ahab since then. So watch out for this encounter.
Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” 1 Kings 21:20
Yap! Ahab had considered Elijah to be his enemy. Interesting! Elijah does not seem to be surprised at this labeling. Notice his response!
“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’ 1 Kings 21:20b-22
And here is the punishment for Jezebel the wife of Ahab and the rest of Ahab’s family.
And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. 1 Kings 21:23-24
The author of this book adds a comment to let us know how evil Ahab was that justified this kind of punishment from God.
There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel. 1 Kings 21:25-26
Now listen to Ahab’s reaction to the pronouncement of this punishment:
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. 1 Kings 21:27
Here is a man who deserved to be punish because of all the evil he had done. But when he humbled himself and God saw his humility, he delayed the punishment. Listen to God’s response:
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.” 1 Kings 21:28-29
Waaw! Only God can show such a mercy to mankind. When God shows mercy to any of us, he withholds what we deserve in a form of punishment then gives us what which we do not deserve by His grace.
- There are a number of individuals in the Old Testament who after hearing the pronouncement of their punishment, they humbled themselves before the Lord. And the Lord changed, delayed, or completely removed the punishment. Can you name three of these individuals?
- List their names.
- Then, beside it write what the punishment they deserved and what God gave each one of them, instead.
- This is the kind of God we have. He is Gracious and Merciful. This is what He did for us on the cross. What we deserved was dead, but he gave his Son to die on our behalf. Then in place of death, He gave us life. Examine these verses:
- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
- How does this lesson apply to your life today? It does not matter how far you have drifted away from the Lord, there is hope In God because He is gracious and merciful. Humble yourself before Him and confess your sins. Meditate upon this verses:
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
- Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2
- Remember the thief on the Cross-with our Lord Jesus Christ? Who could have thought, he will end up in eternity with God.
- In the same way, we should not conclude that so and so are going to hell for as long as they are alive, they have a chance to turn their lives to Christ.
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite:
“Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me?
Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day,
But I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”
1 Kings 21:28-29
WHAT A GOD! HE IS TRULY GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL!
Read: 1 Kings 21:1
Marked: 1 Kings 21:22-24
Thought: What A God! He Is Truly Gracious and Merciful!
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto