As the King of Israel, Ahab did evil in God’s sight. In fact, scripture tells us that…
Ahab… did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.1 Kings 16:30
He married an evil woman named Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31).
He worshipped Baal and built “The House of Baal” in Samaria, Israel’s capital city (1 Kings 16:31-32).
He made a grove (1 Kings 16:33) for the worship of Astarte, the Phonecian goddess. (Incidentally, this is the same goddess whom the world worships during Easter Celebration.)
Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”1 Kings 16:33
By all accounts, King Ahab was a bad person. Everything he did was to erase God from the fabric of his nation. He worked hard to suppress and oppress God’s people. He intentionally served false gods.
Ahab’s wickedness angered God. Still, God took the time to send Elijah to speak Truth to Ahab.
First Kings Chapters 17 through 19 tells us about Elijah’s interactions with Ahab.
During that time, God sent a drought upon the land, and Jezebel had killed all but 100 of the prophets of the Lord 1 Kings 18:4.
Ahab accused Elijah of “troubling Israel” (1 Kings 1:17).
In response, Elijah rebuked Ahab saying,
I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.1 Kings 18:18
Elijah arranged the famous confrontation between him and the prophets of Baal. After God’s fire fell upon Elijah’s sacrifice, Elijah killed all the prophets of Baal. Afterward, God sent rain.
Sometimes, God’s people must do some uncomfortable things before God can do something good for their nation.
Still, Ahab had not learned neither from the drought nor the demonstration of God’s power on the altar.
In Chapter 20,
Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.1 Kings 20:1
At this crucial period, God makes a startling revelation.
Hope for the Wicked.
You’d think that God would use Syria to bring justice to Ahab. After all the wicked things Ahab had done, we might agree that he deserved defeat.
But, we quickly learn that God hasn’t given up on Ahab.
A prophet (1 Kings 20:13)
…with a message of victory.
There came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day…1 Kings 20:13
Ahab must have thought, “After I’ve done against God, God is going to give me the victory? Why? I don’t deserve this!”
In fact, this was part of God’s purpose.
God gave Ahab victory over Syria for one reason:
Thou shalt know that I am the LORD.1 Kings 20:13
At a time when Ahab deserved defeat, God was on the scene, revealing His grace.
I’m wondering, maybe you are like Ahab. You hate God. You hate God’s people. You love the world and the flesh and all they offer. You worship and serve everyone and everything except God.
Maybe, today, God will show out in your life. He’ll give you a victory that you don’t deserve.
Perhaps he’s sending you a special messenger to tell you that God is merciful. He extends His grace to you. He wants you to know Him.
Through a nameless prophet, God revealed to Ahab how to defeat the enemy.
I’m here telling you right now: You can overcome. Repent. Turn to God. Obey His voice.
After God gave Ahab the victory…
The prophet returns (1 Kings 20:22)
…with another message for Ahab.
The Bible says,
The prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.1 Kings 20:22
The prophet told Ahab, “See what thou doest.” You see God expects you to change your ways. God doesn’t help sinners so that they can stay in their sin. God isn’t just a convenient God to lean on during tough times.
You see, the enemy is coming back.
God showed Himself strong on your behalf. You didn’t deserve it. He showed you mercy. He gave you grace. It’s time for you to give your life to Him.
See what thou doest.1 Kings 20:22
After a year had passed, the Syrians were coming back. Again, God has a message for Ahab. He sent…
Message Three: A man of God (1 Kings 20:28)
…to give Ahab a message.
There came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.1 Kings 20:28
Amazingly, God is giving Ahab notice of a second victory. This time God has two purposes:
1. To prove the Syrians wrong.
In their worldly wisdom, the Syrians thought they understood God. They thought God was just like their Satanic gods.
Even now, the rulers of this world think they understand God. They think they know His weakness. Just when the world acts on their misconceptions of God, God shows Himself strong.
God is unlike all the gods of this world.
Besides proving the enemy wrong, God’s purpose in this second victory is much like the first:
2. To prove Himself to Ahab.
Ahab’s heart was hardened. After a miraculous victory, Ahab still didn’t know God. Apparently one victory wasn’t enough.
How many times does God have to reveal Himself to you before you will accept Him?
Soon, your opportunity may run out.
You see, even after God gave him the victory, Ahab was still evil.
He had a chance to destroy the enemy: He didn’t.
Instead, Ahab called Benhadad, the Syrian king, “my brother.”
In response, God sent…
One of the sons of the prophets (1 Kings 20:35)
…to speak to Ahab.
This man had someone wound him. He disguised himself so that he could get close to the king.
When he showed himself to Ahab,
The king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.1 Kings 20:41
I want to pause right here to let you know that, if you’re God’s child, you look different. You can disguise yourself, hiding your faith, but, if God’s inside you, sooner or later, someone’s going to notice.
This time, God’s message for Ahab was not good.
Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.1 Kings 20:42
Ahab’s heart never changed. He should have turned to God. He could have won permanent victory. Instead, he rescued the Syrian king.
He formed an alliance with the enemy. He defied God.
Ahab would pay for his sin with his life.
At the end of the chapter, the Bible says,
The king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.1 Kings 20:43
In the next chapter, we see that nothing changed:
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.
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.1 Kings 21:25-26
But I want you to know that God is merciful. The Bible says that,
[God is] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
Despite God’s judgment against Ahab, God sent Ahab…
A final message.
Prophet Elijah returned to the scene and elaborated on God’s judgment on Ahab:
I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,1 Kings 21:21
Elijah pronounced judgement on Jezebel, Ahab’s wife:
The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.1 Kings 21:23
God continues speaking through Elijah saying,
Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.1 Kings 21:24
This time, Ahab responded to God. The Bible says,
When Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.1 Kings 21:27
This time, Ahab got to know God. His life changed.
At the end of the chapter, First Kings 21, God speaks another message. This time, God speaks to Elijah.
The word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days1 Kings 21:29
God didn’t owe Ahab anything. Ahab was, by all accounts a horrible person. Still, God gave him yet another chance to repent.
I want you to…
…by examining your heart. How has God been revealing Himself to you?
God can have more than one purpose by blessing the wicked. One purpose, however, remains constant: God wants you to know Him.
How many messages has God sent you? Three? Four? Maybe Five?
Even if you feel like God’s judgment is wholly and deservedly upon you, there’s still hope. You might have one last chance to receive God’s grace.
Here’s what Prophet Jeremiah says,
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.Jeremiah 26:13
Turn to God today. You have hope. God wants you to know Him.