Old Testament: 1 Kings 20:1-21:29
1 Kings 20:1-12 One Prophet Gets Whacked And Another Gets . . . Whacked . . .
Ben-hadad and thirty-two other city-state kings who were dependent on him decided to take advantage of the famine that had just hit Israel. So they besieged Samaria and sent word to King Ahab that everything good he had now belonged to them. That included his best-looking wives, kids, silver and gold. Ahab replied, “OK.” So Ben said he’d send his servants to collect it all.
Then Ahab had second thoughts after Ben said he was going to search his houses to see what else they wanted. He conferred with his council and sent word back to Ben that he was drawing the line at all his best-looking wives, kids, silver and gold. Ben told him, “You’re going to get it then.” By that, he meant he was going to war with him and smash him to dust. Ahab told him not to calculate his poultry before the germinating process of incubation had fully materialized.
Wiersbe lists five sins Ahab committed: idolatry, covetousness, bearing false witness, murder, and stealing. He was a pretty rotten guy. Despite this, Yahweh gave him more than one chance to turn from his sin and trust Him. You might figure that Ahab would have no chance against Ben-hadad with a laundry list of sins like that. Yet, in His grace, God promised him victory through one of his prophets.
Ahab mustered 7,000 men to fight against the kings and defeated them soundly. Another prophet told Ahab that the kings would come against them again. Ahab was victorious once again the kings. It wasn’t because of his righteousness but because Yahweh was protecting His reputation. The Israelites killed 100,000 on the battlefield and then the 27,000 that fled were killed in an earthquake. Ben-hadad escaped with his life.
Ben had the idea that since the Israelite kings had always been merciful that he might be spared if he showed deference to Ahab by wearing sackcloth and putting rope on his head. Instead of offing him like he should have (cf. v. 42), reminiscent of Saul not offing the king and his possessions in 1Sam. 15), he made a treaty with him and got his cities back that Ben had taken.
Meanwhile, the sons of the prophets were having a meeting. One prophet was moved by the Lord to ask another to whack him in the head. The prophet refused to hit him so the first prophet prophesied that a lion would kill him right after he left the meeting. Sure enough, a lion offed him as he left the meeting. So the first prophet asked another prophet to whack him in the head. That prophet whacked him good. So the first prophet bandaged his head and waited for the king to pass by. In a scene reminiscent of Nathan with David, the prophet told the king a story of how he was supposed to be guarding a man and if he got away his penalty was to be offed or pay $6,500 in silver. Ahab showed no mercy, telling the prophet he’d have to pay the penalty.
The prophet took the bandage off his eyes so Ahab could recognize him as a prophet. Then he told Ahab that since he didn’t off Ben-hadad like he was supposed to, he was going lose his life and the lives of his people. Poor Ahab got depressed after hearing that.
1 Kings 21:1-29 Grapes Of Wrath
Ahab wanted his next door neighbor’s vineyard. He wanted it really bad. He wanted to grow veggies in it. The problem was that Naboth owned it. It had been in the family for a long time and he didn’t want to give it up. That depressed Ahab, too. His “wonderful” wife, Jezebel, came in and said, “What’s your problem?” Ahab told her. She said, “Don’t worry about it. You’re the king and I’ll send a few e-mails and it’ll be a done deal.”
So Jezebel sent out some e-mails from the king’s address, pulled some strings and got a couple scuz-buckets to testify against Naboth in court. They said Naboth was disloyal to the king so they took him out and stoned him with real stones. Then Jezebel told Ahab he could go ahead and take the vineyard he wanted.
Elijah came back on the scene and went to see Ahab. He told him for murdering Naboth that the dogs would lick up his blood in the same place they licked up Naboth’s blood. Ick.
Ahab had a personal grudge against Elijah. He called him, “his enemy” (v. 20). Elijah told him that his descendants would like the descendants of Jeroboam and Baasha who also had sinned quite a bit against the Lord. Then Elijah added that Jezebel would also come to a grim death with dogs licking her blood as well.
Here is the pronouncement of Scripture on Ahab: “Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord” (v. 25). Not a very good epitaph for a tombstone, was it?
Ahab put on sackcloth and fasted, humbling himself before the Lord. Because of that, Yahweh told Elijah that he would postpone the punishment due Ahab until the reign of his son.
New Testament: Acts 12:24-13:15
Acts 12:24-13:15 Paul Trips Out, Take 1
What a time that must’ve been! “The word of the Lord continued to grow and be multiplied!” (v. 24). Barnabas and Saul came back from Jerusalem along with John Mark after fulfilling their mission to bring the famine relief money to Jerusalem (11:27- 30). JM was Barnabas’ cousin (Co. 4: 10).
The Holy Spirit wanted Paul and Barnabas to take off on the first of Paul’s three missionary trips, after being sent off by the fellowship with prayer and fasting.
They went out toward the island of Cyprus in Greece, being led by the Holy Spirit. They started preaching at Salamis where there was a false prophet and magician named Bar-Jesus aka Elymas. Elymas’ boss wanted to hear what Paul and company had to say and asked to see them. Elymas was trying to throw a wrench in the works so his boss would’t get saved. All of a sudden, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and looked Elymas right in the eyes. Paul said, “You fraudulent piece of dirt! Are you trying to blind others? The Lord will blind you!” Immediately, Elymas lost his sight and needed someone else to lead him around. That, along with the disciples’ teaching, was enough for his boss to trust the Lord!
Paul and company jumped a boat for Paphos, still on the island of Cyprus, and ended up in Perga, on the mainland of Greece, where John Mark abandoned them to go back to Jerusalem. They eventually landed at Antioch, inland in Greece, on a Sunday and went to the synagogue to teach. The Law and the Prophets were read and then the synagogue officials asked the disciples if they wanted to give a word of exhortation.