Bible Readings for October 18th
Despite the fact that Yahweh sends Ahab prophet after prophet, revealing his word to the king time after time, Ahab nevertheless stands firm in his unbelief and hardness of heart. In today’s reading from 1 Kings 21, the only thing that moves Ahab to humility is when Yahweh sends a final word of judgment.
At the beginning of the chapter, Ahab becomes “vexed and sullen” (1 Kgs. 21:4) when Naboth refuses to sell the king his inheritance, a vineyard that Ahab would like to use as his personal vegetable garden (1 Kgs. 21:2–4). Remember, Yahweh gave his people land to be passed down as an inheritance from generation to generation so that the family’s inheritance would serve as the place where Yahweh would dwell in their midst. Naboth, therefore, refuses to give up his family’s inheritance on theological grounds.
But, when the wicked Jezebel undertakes a plot to murder Naboth through a lie, Ahab is delighted to go immediately to take possession of the vineyard. When he arrives, however, Elijah meets him with a prophetic word, informing Ahab that Yahweh has determined to bring disaster and ruin on the house of Ahab (1 Kgs. 21:20–24), and especially on Jezebel, whom the dogs will eat within the walls of Jezreel (1 Kgs. 21:23). Nevertheless, when Ahab hears the word of Yahweh, he tears his clothes, puts on sackcloth, fasts, and humbles himself before Yahweh (1 Kgs. 21:27), prompting Yahweh to relent from sending this disaster until after Ahab would die (1 Kgs. 21:29).
There are two principles we should observe from this story. First, we should recognize that it is never too late for a sinner to repent in this life. We ought to commend Ahab for eventually humbling himself before Yahweh, even though he starts his life off wickedly.
Second, we should be encouraged by the story of Naboth. Despite the fact that wicked kings had ascended to the throne of Israel in rebellion against the house of David during his days, Naboth simply presses on in his ordinary life, faithfully keeping the vineyard Yahweh had given to his fathers. And through his faithfulness, Naboth has the honor of foreshadowing our Lord Jesus, who was also murdered when evil, worthless men trumped up charges against him, claiming that he had blasphemed God (Matt. 26:65) and rebelled against the king (John 19:12) in order to claim God’s vineyard as their own (Matt. 21:38).
Our inheritance is not real estate, but the Lord Jesus himself, whom God has graciously given to us. Learn to prize Jesus more than you do your own life, so that when wicked rulers ask you to sell your inheritance for a price, you will find it easy to respond in the words of Naboth: “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers” (1 Kgs. 21:3).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.