I Kings 20-22; What We Deserve

Israel’s King Ahab was evil. His wife, Jezebel wasn’t much better. “There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife.” (21:25) That’s quite the legacy.

They put a hit out on a guy so they could steal his vineyard. They blatantly worshiped idols. They were evil, and they encouraged evil in Israel. Doesn’t it seem fitting that these two receive their just desserts? Like leprosy or something?

However, God sent a prophet to Israel’s king and told him God was going to help Israel defeat their enemy. Wait. What? God was going to make this evil king successful?

Like it or not, that’s exactly what happened. Israel went to war with the Arameans and soundly beat them. Twice! Why would God give this rotten guy these victories? That’s just not how it’s supposed to happen. It’s just not right when evil people succeed.

Later on, after Naboth is murdered by order of Jezebel, God prompted Elijah to go to King Ahab and tell him he was going to die. His whole family was going to die for Ahab’s sin. From what I know of Elijah, that is probably one message he was more than happy to pass on to King Ahab. And it’s probably a message all of us think was long over due.

How did Ahab receive this message? He tore his clothes, he fasted, he put on sackcloth. And God noticed. 21:28 tells us God saw that Ahab humbled himself before Him. And for the next three years, Israel was free from war with the Arameans. Neither Ahab nor Jezebel died. Once again, this evil king seems to have gotten away with something. Ugh.

Well, old Ahab seemed to have gotten pretty comfortable in those three years of peace. Eventually he defied God again, and this time it cost him, and Jezebel, their lives.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure God out, isn’t it? It just seems obvious that good people should have good things happen to them and bad people should suffer. But if you’ve lived more than ten minutes on this planet, you know that just isn’t how things go.

In 20:13, before Ahab fought any battle with the Arameans, God explained Himself. It’s something I think all of us need to take notice of.

I will give it (the battle)  into your hand today, and then you will know I AM the Lord.

I am reminded that God is not willing that anyone die without him. That includes the terrorist, the child molester, or the neighbor who dumps their yard waste into your yard. (Ok. That last one was a personal note to self)

Your idea of justice isn’t the same as God’s. Your idea of justice is immediate, sometimes emotional, and certainly limited to this lifetime. God’s idea of justice is patient, loving, and eternal. Everything good that happens to a bad person happens to reveal God to them, just like the good things Ahab experienced revealed God to him.

And here’s something we don’t like to think about. Anything good that happens to you… anything good… is God’s grace. I don’t care how good you think you are, you don’t deserve one moment of the blessings that are yours every day. You are a sinner. You deserve God’s wrath as much as that drug dealer or rapist you read about on the news. If you got what you deserved, well, let’s just say I’m glad none of us get what we deserve in this lifetime.

God is full of grace. Every moment of every day He is working in my life and yours to reveal Himself. Sometimes He does it with victories in battle. Sometimes He does it with hardship and pain. But in and through everything that happens, there is one underlying reason: God.

God wants us to know Him. God wants us to love Him, to worship Him, to rest in Him.

The next time you secretly hope someone gets what you think they deserve, pray instead that they receive what Jesus died to give them. Not because they deserve it. But because God does.

Righteous Judge, I have to confess that sometimes I am frustrated that sinners seem to prosper and Christians don’t. I seem to have my own sense of fairness, and wonder why You don’t share my insight. I’m sorry about that. When you told us not to judge, lest we be judged, I think you were talking along these lines. I don’t want to judge You for working in ways I don’t understand. Help me to deal with the sin of my own life, as you reveal it to me, and allow You deal with the sin in others’ lives as You see fit. And, Lord, let me never forget how blessed I am that You don’t give me what I deserve.

 

7 thoughts on “I Kings 20-22; What We Deserve

  1. Joseph Gribbin

    Thanks again for these devotions. Your sentence “Everything good that happens to a bad person happens to reveal God to them” is a very interesting approach. It makes sense. I appreciate your insights.

    Reply
    1. cazehner Post author

      Thanks, Joseph. I’m convinced God is intently working in the hearts and lives of every person on this earth, wooing them, shouting at them, slapping them in their faces, or blessing them in order to win them. I’m not going to tell Him He’s wrong! Praying for our church fellowship this morning as you worship God together in spirit and truth. Love to you all.

      Reply
    2. Looking Up!

      I agree, God does use these circumstances to get us where we need to be. He has worked with me like that. Lol, maybe I just require more time outs than my brothers and sisters!

      Reply
  2. Looking Up!

    Amen!
    Thank you sister!
    As I was reading along I kept thinking of things I would put in my comment at the end. Things about how none of us are good. In our eyes we see…1. REALLY bad. 2. Would not be a person I want to be seen hanging out with. 3. Just a little thing here and there. ..little white lies and you know they cheat a little here and there. (Our eyes see, but God sees ALL of it.) 4. This person seems perfect from everything displayed!

    Ha…well, like you stated so well, NOT ONE of us is good. From a human perspective we see different levels but in reality there is only perfect and imperfect that counts. Jesus Christ was and is the only one that ever walked this earth as a sinless man. All the rest of us, well, scripture tells us that the best we have is as filthy rags before the Lord. Without the covering blood of Jesus Christ that was shed so that we might be saved, none of us would have any hope!

    I am also thinking about the verse that says (paraphrasing), that God causes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust and He causes it to rain on the just and the unjust.

    Bottom line, you wrote this PERFECTLY, in my eyes! Truth…very well written! I ended up at the end thinking that you cleared up absolutely everything I was going to make a comment about! Ha. Although I had to share my thoughts.

    Now, to find the reblog button!

    Reply
    1. cazehner Post author

      I’m so glad you shared your comment! And I’m very glad I made myself clear at the end of my post. (whew!) I loved that you remind us that our good deeds are like filthy rags compared to what God has done and is doing. Some of us forget that sometimes. I’m very thankful God is Who He IS! And that He died for all of us imperfect, sinful people. Thanks, too for the reblog. I am humbled and grateful if God can use what I write to speak to hearts about His. God bless you, dear one, as you love and serve Him.

      Reply

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