1 Kings 22:34-35 Ahab the Scoundrel 7/20/2003 ßà
#1. Naboth's Vineyard (1King 21:15-19, Job 14:4)
#2. He Disguised Himself (1King 22:29-33, Deut 7:3)
#3. There Was None Like Unto Ahab (1King 21:25-26)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of 1Kings, chapter 22:1 (2X).
You find 1Kings just before 2Kings, about 1/3 down into your Bibles.
We have here a story about:
Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah, and Jehoshaphat was a good king who did mostly what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
Ahab was the king of Israel, and Ahab was a wicked king who did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
If you want to see a sample of two people being unequally yoked, it is here in Jehoshaphat and Ahab.
The title of this sermon is: "Ahab the Scoundrel" (2X).
The glorious kingdom of David and Solomon was broken up in two pieces.
The Southern part was called the kingdom of Judah and the Northern part was called the kingdom of Israel. God did that.
God used the arrogance and the stupidity of the descendants of Solomon to bring it to pass.
And now we are looking at a time of about 80 years after the death of Solomon. It was a time of peace between Judah and Israel, but the Devil was busily at work through the seeds of this unequal yoke. Ahab had his confrontations with the prophet Elijah. Ahab had married a princess from the kingdom of Sidon. Her name was Jezebel. She brought with her the worship of Baal and of Ashtoreth, and Ahab joined her in worshipping these idols. A son of Jehoshaphat married a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. You see what unequally yoked leads to? We now enter the 22nd year of Ahab's reign over Israel, and God is done with Ahab. God decided that this is going to be the end of the life of Ahab. We read in the first 5 verses of this chapter
1Ki 22:1-2 ¶ And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
1Ki 22:3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
1Ki 22:4-5 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of Jehovah to day.
You see, not only was there peace between Judah and Israel, but also there was a period of three years peace between Syria and Israel. Now Ahab is going to stir the pot and he wants Jehoshaphat to be his ally against Syria. But Jehoshaphat insisted 2X that a prophet from Jehovah be consulted. Jehoshaphat realizes that the 400 prophets from Ahab were all prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth. Therefore Ahab ordered the prophet Micaiah to appear before them. And then we read in verse 15,
1Ki 22:15 ¶ So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for Jehovah shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
Yea, but in the hand of which king? The king of Israel or the king of Syria? Jehovah will give it into the hand of the king of Syria. Ahab recognizes that the prophet Micaiah spoke in a scoffing tone.
1Ki 22:16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of Jehovah?
Does Ahab want to know the truth, or has he already made up his mind regardless what the Lord says? You know, this is something that we find in most people today. Do they really want to know what God says, or have they already made up their mind? The fact is that they have already made up their mind. Most people do not want to know what God said precisely. O yes, they will pretend to know the Word of God, but they remain in total ignorance about the sinfulness of mankind, and about the awful nature of sin, and about the judgment of God on sin, and that God will cast every guilty sinner into Hell forever. Most people do not want to study the Bible, because they are afraid that it will cost them something that they love too dearly; Sin is delicious, and they want to keep it. Do you want proof of this? Ask people to Study the Bible with you, and see their response. Ahab has made up his mind: He is going to battle. This fits all in God's plan, because God was going to kill him. Remember:
#1. Naboth's Vineyard (1King 21:15-19, Job 14:4)
Please turn to 1King 21:15 (2X). Naboth had a vineyard in Jezreel, next to the palace of king Ahab. Ahab wanted to buy that vineyard, but Naboth did not want to sell it to him. So, queen Jezebel arranged to have Naboth accused of blasphemy through two false witnesses, and they stoned him to death. Then she gave the vineyard to her husband Ahab.
1Ki 21:15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
1Ki 21:16 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
1Ki 21:17 ¶ And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
1Ki 21:18 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.
1Ki 21:19 And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
Is that not nice of God? Ahab and Jezebel committed a murder, on top of murdering many prophets of Jehovah over the years, and all that will be done to them is "the dogs shall lick thy blood". And is that not what many people are hoping for? After they have lived a sordid life where they enjoyed themselves in their sins, they hope that God will bring their life to an end, and that will be the end of it. No more consequences. Or perhaps they will even consider that God will judge people on the Last day, and since He is a loving God he will incinerate only the most wicked ones, like Adolph Hitler, but He will take almost everyone else into heaven. Is that not nice of God? That is why most people live in a dream world, and the god they worship fits exactly in their dream world. Since their god is not the God of the Bible, their god is one of their own making, just like the idols carved from wood and stone centuries ago. But the God of the Bible says in Job 14:4, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one". Therefore who can expect to bring righteous children into this world if we ourselves are unrighteous to begin with? As a result, the whole human race comes into the world in a state of unrighteousness, or wickedness, and the whole human race is born under the wrath of God and is on the way to Hell. That is what the Bible says. Ahab already knew these words, because Job lived around the time of Abraham, more than a thousand years before Ahab came into existence. When God said to Ahab: "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine", God meant that Ahab would suffer a violent death, and be under the wrath of God for all eternity. This was the reason God was going to kill Ahab at this time, and this was the reason God created the desire in Ahab to go to battle against the Syrians. And now God lifts the veil to show us a little insight in His dealings with mankind.
Please turn again to 1Kings 22:17 (2X). Now the prophet Micaiah told a true prophecy:
1Ki 22:17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
1Ki 22:18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
Now he was speaking plainly. His message was: These have no master. Ahab shall die and all Israel shall be scattered as sheep that have not a shepherd. Does Ahab believe it? No! Ahab believes that Micaiah always prophesies evil to him, and this time was no exception. Always bad news from the prophet of Jehovah has made Ahab callous toward God. Tell people that they are on a slippery slide into Hell, and they find a reason to tune you out, or to banish this doomsday prophet out of their life. It does not matter if it is true, people simply do not want to hear it. But Micaiah was not done,
1Ki 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
1Ki 22:20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
1Ki 22:21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
1Ki 22:22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
1Ki 22:23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
Micaiah told the king how it was that all his prophets encouraged him to go to war against the king of Syria. And the prophet told it after the manner of men, so that Ahab can understand it. This is how earthly kings operate. They are surrounded by counselors who give them advice on this or on that. But this is not in reality how God operates. God does not need to seek counsel from angels or from whoever else there is in heaven. God is not puzzling how to accomplish His purposes. God is not the author of sin, or the cause of any man telling a lie. That is not the nature of our God at all. But what message then does God communicate to us in this story? #1, God is a great King above all kings, and He has a throne above all the thrones of earthly kings. #2, God is continually attended and served by an innumerable company of angels. They are ready to go where He sends them, He has messengers of mercy on His right hand, and His messengers of wrath on His left hand. #3, God is not only aware of every person in this world, but He also rules over all the affairs of this world, and He overrules our decisions according to the counsel of His own will. That includes the rise and fall of kings and of nations, the issues of war and peace, and it includes the mundane concerns of the poorest people on earth as well. #4, God has many ways of implementing His own counsels He has determined before time began. His own counsels do not just concern those whom He intends to save, but also those whom He never intended to save and go to Hell. #5, God lets us know that there are malicious and lying spirits, which go about continuously seeking whom they may devour. To this end these spirits put lies into the mouths of people around us, to entice us to sin so that we end up in Hell. #6, God lets us know that the Devil needs divine permission to deceive men, and thereby God serves His own purposes. God says in Job 12:16, "With Him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his". Both the deceiver, Satan, and all the Reprobate who are the deceived, are God's property. He can do with them according to the counsel of His own will. God not only lets Satan loose to deceive Gog and Magog, which are the nations in the four quarters of the earth (Rev 20:7-8), but God also gives men up to strong delusions to believe the lie that Satan brings (2Thess 2:11-12). #7, God lets us know to beware of false prophets, and to test the spirits whether they are of God. The lying spirit is most dangerous when it is in the mouth of those who claim to be prophets of the Lord.
Micaiah told Ahab the truth, as God and the king commanded him. What reward did he get?
1Ki 22:24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
1Ki 22:25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
One of the false prophets, named Zedekiah, hit Micaiah on the cheek. To strike someone in the royal court in the presence of the king is against the law. Yet this wicked prophet is not reprimanded. Ahab is pleased with it, and Jehoshaphat had no courage to defend the prophet of Jehovah. But Micaiah now turns himself to Zedekiah and he said: "In that day, the day of the battle against the Syrians, you shall hide yourself in an inner chamber, because the friends of your king shall seek to avenge his death on you, who counseled him to go to the battle".
1Ki 22:26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;
1Ki 22:27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
1Ki 22:28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.
This was the third warning to the king. "If you return at all alive, Jehovah has not spoken by me". And then Micaiah addressed the people around him: "Listen to what I said people, every one of you". What did Micaiah get for speaking the Word of the Lord? He was put in jail, and was put on a diet of bread and water. This is what every prophet of the Lord can expect. This is what we can expect when we do the good work of bringing the true Gospel. But what could be the bread of affliction and the water of affliction? Put a sticker here in 1Kings 22 and please turn to the prophecy of Isaiah 30:19 (2X). While you look this up, let me read to you what the Lord Jesus said in John 15:20, "Remember the word that I said unto you: The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you". Persecution is guaranteed for the Saints. God will see to it that it will happen to all the Saints, because it serves to build us up and make us stronger spiritually. We read in
Isa 30:19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
Isa 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
In verse 19 God assures us that He is speaking of the Saints. And in verse 20 God says that He will give us "the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction". That word affliction is the same word that was used twice in 1Kings 22:27. It is a term by which God assures you that you are still His child. Therefore, what we see is this: In the midst of our affliction God assures us that He is still in control, that this water of affliction has been brought on by Him, and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. That is our comfort, and that was also the comfort of the prophet Micaiah. Let us turn again to 1Kings 22:29 (2X). Did Ahab believe what the prophet of Jehovah told him? He believed it just a little.
#2. He Disguised Himself (1King 22:29-33, Deut 7:3)
Both Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war against the Syrian army. Even after hearing the prophet of Jehovah, Jehoshaphat still went along with Ahab. He did that probably because he had given his word to Ahab that He would be his ally against Syria. No wonder, Ahab was his son's father in law. Now can you see what consequences an unequal yoke brings? First, his posterity was going to be poisoned with the idolatry of Baal and Ashtoreth, and now he had stooped so low as to ignore the Words from Jehovah; something he would never do in his nation of Judah or in his hometown Jerusalem. But Ahab exceeded the stupidity of Jehoshaphat. Ahab disguised himself, thinking that he was now invisible to the Syrian army and invisible to God. If Jehovah God were planning to have him killed, then Jehovah God would have a tough time accomplishing His goals. That is what Ahab thinks.
1Ki 22:29 ¶ So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.
1Ki 22:30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
Was that not silly? It was not only silly, it was very inconsiderate of Ahab to give himself a certain amount of protection, whereas he made his host a target for the elite troops of the Syrian army.
1Ki 22:31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
1Ki 22:32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
1Ki 22:33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
Ben-hadad was the king of Syria. Ahab took three years earlier Ben-hadad captive, but Ahab had mercy on him and let him go. We can read this two chapters earlier. Now the king of Syria wants revenge, and he instructed his 32 captains that had the rule over his chariots to focus their attention on just one man: Ahab the king of Israel. Most likely they wanted to take him alive. When they saw Jehoshaphat they thought it was the king of Israel, and instantly all the chariots of Syria were pursuing Jehoshaphat and were about to surround him. Then Jehoshaphat fled and cried out in fear. Most likely, he cried out to Jehovah. It was then that Jehovah made the Syrians see that this was not the king of Israel, since Ahab would not cry out to Jehovah. So, by a sweet providence of God they turned back from pursuing Jehoshaphat. What could Jehoshaphat have learned from this event?
#1, By this danger God let him know that He was displeased with him for joining himself to Ahab. God's will for every one of His Saints is that they will separate themselves from unbelievers. God stated this already in Deut 7:3, "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son". #2, By this deliverance God let him know that although God was displeased with him, God had not deserted him. God moved the captains away from Jehoshaphat because it was not the time for Jehoshaphat to die. But:
When we read that, "at a venture", it is an old English expression for "at random". But this is not what God wrote in the Hebrew text. Literally the Hebrew reads, "One drew a bow in his simplicity", without any hostile or destructive intent. We read in 1Kings 22:34,
1Ki 22:34 And a (
man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of
the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand,
and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
The word "certain" is in italics, so we can safely leave it out. Someone shot an arrow just in the air, without trying to hit anyone. It could have been a Syrian, or it could have been an Israelite who shot the arrow. But God had this arrow marked for king Ahab. God's providence steered this arrow in the direction of Ahab, and it hit him just between the joints of the harness. No human being could have hit such a small target on purpose, but God did. The arrow was going up with full force, and when it was going down it had lost most of its kinetic energy, and it was slowed down by friction from the air. But like the little stone that killed Goliath, God gave this arrow such force that it forced its way between the joints of the harness and fatally wounded king Ahab. God decided that this was the last day for Ahab, and God brought it to pass. God had his man. Ahab's disguise was absolutely of no value. Our God is a God who directs the affairs of all men, both saved and unsaved, and God determines when someone's life is to be ended. No one dies before his or her time. We hear or read sometimes of someone who dies in a traffic accident. There are no accidents. God's providence works all things out according to the counsel of His will. Then we read in verse 35,
1Ki 22:35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
1Ki 22:36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.
The king was propped up in his chariot so that his army would not see that he was mortally wounded. But toward the evening Ahab died. Then everyone in the army of Israel was notified that the king was dead, and they should now go home. Everyone remembered the prophecy of Micaiah, and the 400 prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth went hiding, for they were guilty of the death of many who died that day. Think of it now. If you would have been in that army of Israel and you would have lost a brother or a father in that battle, would you not be angry? Then we read in verse 37,
1Ki 22:37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
1Ki 22:38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
What was this referring to? Does this refer to the prophecy made by the prophet Elijah, which we read about half an hour ago in 1Kings 21:19, "Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine"? Is this the fulfillment of the prophecy? No! Naboth died in Jezreel. There is where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth. But Ahab's chariot was taken to the pool in the capital city of Samaria. There is where the dogs licked his blood. But wait! Ahab's blood was also in his descendants. And then we find in 2Kings 9:25-26 that Ahab's son Joram was killed by Jehu, and his body was cast into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for a fulfillment of the prophecy that God told by the mouth of Elijah. God always makes His word come through to the letter. This is a warning to us also, that nothing will fail from God's Word till all is fulfilled. And this is also our comfort, that God will abide by His promises and He will fulfill all things He has promised us.
Please turn again to 1Kings 21:25 (2X). There we read:
#3. There Was None Like Unto Ahab (1King 21:25-26)
1Ki 21:25 But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
1Ki 21:26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
Ahab sold himself. Who did he sell himself to? Verse 25 says, he sold himself to his wife Jezebel. Did Ahab and Jezebel have a good marriage? Humanly speaking, they had an excellent marriage. We do not read of Ahab taking other wives beside Jezebel. We do not read that they had any fights with each other. But Ahab sold himself to his wife to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord. Ahab did everything his wife asked for. She asked that Ahab abandon Jehovah and instead worship Baal and Ashtoreth, and Ahab did so. Ahab built the house of Baal in Samaria, and Ahab built an altar for Baal in that house. Jezebel asked for the heads of the prophets of Jehovah, and Ahab complied. Ahab did everything for his wife. Jezebel used the king's stationary and the king's seal to send letters to the elders in Jezreel wherein she demanded that Naboth be falsely accused of blasphemy. So, Naboth was stoned to death and Jezebel and Ahab celebrated this event. Why did God blame Ahab if his wife was really the instigator of evil? According to the Bible, the man is the head of the household and the man is responsible for all the evil that occurs in his household.
Men, do you think you should do everything your wife asks for? Is this the outward sign of a happy marriage? Of course not! A good marriage is where God is the center of your marriage. Both man and wife are individually accountable to God, but on earth the man is the spiritual head of the household, and the man takes the blame for what spiritually goes wrong in his household. Does this then mean that the man bears the greater guilt in the household? Absolutely yes! But do not forget:
1Ki 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words (from Elijah), that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
1Ki 21:28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
1Ki 21:29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before
Me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
Did Ahab repent and humble himself? The answer is NO! Literally the Hebrew text says that Ahab was humbled. The humble attitude did not come out of Ahab's own mind. Ahab was passive in this. God made him humble. Ahab could not get any credit for this. In Ahab's case God gave him time to repent. Let us now leave Ahab and turn to the Mercy of God for many. Look at all mankind. We all come into the world as wicked as Ahab. We all deserve to be killed like Ahab and go to Hell. But, in order to save some, God softens a heart here and there, since God has mercy on some. If God left it at that and God would have waited for anyone to repent, God would still be waiting for the first human being to repent. We can see this in Ahab's example. NO! In order for the mercy of God to become effective, God needs to do a whole lot more than just soften our hearts. God must give us a new heart, or a new soul if you like this terminology better. All those whom God intends to save from their slippery slide into Hell, God must make them "Born Again", or "born from above", which means God must give them a new soul in which God himself comes to live. But in order to do that, God must first purchase the right to throw away the old soul that is filled with sin, because the Law of God demands that those sins first be paid with the penalty of an eternity in Hell. This is why God became flesh in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He went to the cross to bear the sins of all those whom He intended to give a new soul. Since Christ was God, He was able to make this payment for the sins of all those whom God intended to save. To satisfy the Law of God Christ had to pay the full price for our sins, which was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. When the Lord Jesus Christ suffered on Thursday night in the Garden of Gethsemane He began to endure the payment for our sins. When on the cross on Friday afternoon the Lord Jesus cried "It is finished", He finished the suffering that was the payment for our sins. And when He rose from the grave on Sunday morning, God gave us the sign that our sins have been paid in full. But Christ did not pay for the sins of every human being, because God has decided from before the foundation of the world whom to save and whom to pass by. For example, almost the entire world before Pentecost in AD 33 was passed by. But to all those whom He intended to save, the Mercy of God was on display at the cross and in our time. For all those whom God intended to save He performed the great miracle of the "New Birth". Let me summarize this in the words of a poem that is known for over 200 years:
"Yea, the Lord is full of mercy and compassion for distress, slow to anger and abundant in His grace and tenderness.
He will not be angry always, nor will He forever chide; though we oft have sinned against Him, still His love and grace abide."
These are the words of the 3rd stanza of Hymn # 201 that we are going to sing in a few minutes.
Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.