This is where the time-like gets interesting. As I mentioned yesterday, things begin to move really quickly from this point forward. We enter into a very key period of history for the divided Kingdoms here, because Ahab comes on the scene as King of Israel after Omri. Remember, there is no good King in Israel from now until 722 B.C. when the whole nation is defeated by the Assyrians and taken into exile. But some really key Biblical figures begin to emerge during this time, and it all begins with Ahab’s reign.
The Bible makes it pretty clear that Ahab set a new standard when it came to disobedience to God. 1 Kings 16 says: “Ahab did what was evil in the Lord’s sight more than all who were before him.” Ahab becomes the new evil standard from this point forward, at least for a while. Ahab had a heart completely devoid of any loyalty to God, or even any loyalty to Israel. The nation suffered greatly under his rule, and yet he does not change his ways or turn back to God through it all.
God raises up a new class of leader to speak to the divided Kingdoms, because the Kings were not following after God. We know these people as prophets. From now until we travel out of the Old Testament, we will encounter a vast number of Bible personalities who are the voices of God, crying out to Israel and Judah. Sometimes their voice is harsh, judgmental and pronouncing punishment, other times their voices are softer in tone, pleading the people to turn back to God and abandon the idols and other gods that they were worshiping.
Elijah, who we will be introduced to tomorrow, begins this trend, and he takes on the worst of the Kings in Ahab.
Ahab is not alone in his depravity, he has a partner in Jezebel, who is the daughter of a foreign King. Notice that the downfall of Israel’s kings are linked to their connections to foreign nations. Marriage to foreign wives, treaties with foreign armies, economic dealings, ect. But none of that stuff comes with out a spiritual price, a price that eventually entices Israel away from God and into the worship of foreign gods.
We can take a lesson from this. We too must be careful about the influences that we allow into our lives, influences that may seem minor or even non-existent at the time. But we need to be careful about who we marry, who we do business with and what we use our money to buy. Sometimes we are inviting influence into our lives without even knowing it or meaning to. The New Testament tells us very clearly to be careful who we do business with and have relationships with because of the potential to be lead astray. These Old Testament accounts paint vivid pictures for us of the truth of those statements.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: 1 Kings 17-19