08
Jul
11

Grace For a Wicked King

The encounters of King Ahab and the prophet Elijah are always stormy.  And we continue to witness the clash between them:

Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD.  ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free.  I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

“And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’

“Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.”

(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.  He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite:  “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”  — 1 Kings 21:20-29

We see more of God’s character revealed in this story – He is merciful even to the likes of Ahab, a tremendously wicked king.  In no practical manner of speaking should Ahab have been a recipient of God’s grace.  Yet that fact reveals the very definition of grace – it is given to the undeserving.  How much more merciful will God be with us!

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