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Friday, June 17, 2016

Pouty Men and Scheming Women (1 Kings 21:7)

 "Jezebel his wife said, "Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I'll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."

Have you ever wanted something so badly that your obsession led to a lose of appetite? Ahab made himself sick over the property of his neighbor. Naboth's property is just a symptom of a deeper problem. The previous chapter closes with Ahab's rebuke by the prophet for his disobedience in not killing Ben-Hadad. Sullen and angry, Ahab returns to Samaria where he stews over this rebuke. At this point in his life he covets his neighbor's property. Nothing will cheer him but having Naboth's property.

Sullen and angry men either blow up or pout. Women married to men who blow up tend to withdraw while women married to pouting men scheme and rescue. Ahab is a pouter and Jezebel is a rescuer.

Enter Jezebel. "I'll get you the vineyard."

What can we learn from this scheming woman?
  • Schemers take matters in their own hands - "I'll get you the vineyard"
  • Schemers disregard the convictions and legal rights of others - Naboth's refusal is based on the Book of the Law (Leviticus 25:23; Numbers 36:7)
  • Schemers misuse authority - "She wrote letters in Ahab's name, place his seal on them"
  • Schemers falsely accuse innocent people as a cover for their covetousness - "Seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king"
  • Schemers use religion to "front" their taking advantage over others - "Proclaim a day of fasting" & "he has cursed God"
  • Schemers treat their victims harshly - "Then take him out and stone him to death"
  • Schemers intimidate others to cooperate in their plans - "So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth's city did as Jezebel directed"
Women who take matters in their own hands hurt others. They never experience what God will do on behalf of those wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4); they experience God's judgment instead. This story serves as a clear warning to all women who scheme; Jezebel got her way, obtained for Ahab the vineyard, but incurred the judgment of a Holy God.

Questions for today's Chronological reading:
1 Kings 21:1-29
  • What does this story teach us about innocent victims (Naboth)?
  • Who does God hold responsible for Jezebel's actions?
  • What does Jezebel's actions cost her and others?
  • How does the writer describe Jezebel's influence on her husband?
  • How does Ahab respond to Elijah's words?
1 Kings 22:51-53; 1 Kings 22:1-35; 2 Chronicles 18:2-34
  • What influence do Ahab and Jezebel have on their descendants?
  • How do Ahab and Jehoshaphat differ in their response to trouble or difficulties?
  • How does Micaiah's counsel differ from that of the other prophets?
  • What does Ahab do to prevent his own death?
  • What does this narrative teach you about God?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to make you aware of scheming in your own life.