1 Kings 21:20
And Ahab said to Elijah, Have you found me, O my enemy? And he answered, I have found you…
The keynote of Elijah's character is force — the force of righteousness. The New Testament, you remember, talks about the "power of Elias." The outward appearance of the man corresponds to his function and his character. The whole of his career is marked by this one thing — the strength of a righteous man. And then, on the other hand, this Ahab; the keynote of his character is the weakness of wickedness, and the wickedness of weakness. And so the deed is done: Naboth safe stoned out of the way; and Ahab goes down to take possession! The lesson of that is, my friend — Weak dallying with forbidden desires is sure to end in wicked clutching at them: But my business now is rather with the consequences of this apparently successful sin, than with what went before it. The king gets the crime done, shuffles it off himself on to the shoulders of his ready tools in the little village, goes down to get his toy, and gets it — but he gets Elijah along with it, which was more than he reckoned on.
I. PLEASURE WON BY SIN IS PEACE LOST. Action and reaction, as the mechanicians tell us, are equal and contrary. The more violent the blow with which we strike upon the forbidden pleasure, the further back the rebound after the stroke. When sin tempts — when there hangs glittering before a man the golden fruit that he knows he ought not to touch-then, amidst the noise of passion or the sophistry of desire, conscience is silenced for a little while. Conscience and consequence are alike lost sight of. Like a mad bull, the man that is tempted lowers his head and shuts his eyes, and rushes right on. The moment that the sin is done, that moment the passion or desire which tempted to it is satiated, and ceases to exist for the time. It is gone as a motive. Like some savage beast, being fed full, it lies down to sleep. There is a vacuum left in the heart, the noise is stilled, and then — and then — conscience begins to speak. Now, you will say that all that is true in regard to the grossest forms of transgression, but that it is not true in regard to the less vulgar and sensual kinds of crime. Of course it is most markedly observable with regard to the coarsest kind of sins; but it is as true, though perhaps not in the same degree-not in the same prominent, manifest way at any rate — in regard to every sin that a man does. There is never an evil thing which — knowing it to be evil — we commit, which does not rise up to testify against us. As surely as to-night's debauch is followed by to-morrow's headache; so surely — each after its kind, and each in its own region — every sin lodges in the human heart the seed of a quickspringing punishment, yea, is its own punishment. When we come to grasp the sweet thing that we have been tempted to seize, there is a serpent that starts up amongst all the flowers. When the evil act is done — opposite of the prophet's roll — it is sweet in the lips, but oh! it is bitter afterwards. "At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder!" The silence of a seared conscience is not peace. For peace you want something more than that a conscience shall be dumb. For peace you want something more than that you shall be able to live without the daily sense and sting of sin. You want not only the negative absence of pain, but the positive presence of a tranquillising guest in your heart — that conscience of yours testifying with you, blessing you in its witness, and shedding abroad rest and comfort.
II. SIN IS BLIND TO ITS TRUE FRIENDS AND ITS REAL FOES. "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" Elijah was the best friend he had in his kingdom. And that Jezebel there, the wife of his bosom, whom he loved and thanked for this thing, she was the worst foe that hell could have sent him. Ay, and so it is always. The faithful rebuker, the merciful inflictor of pain, is the truest friend of the wrong doer. The worst enemy of the sinful heart is the voice that either tempts it into sin, or lulls it into self-complacency,
III. THE SIN WHICH MISTAKES THE FRIENDLY APPEAL FOR AN ENEMY, LAYS UP FOR ITSELF A TERRIBLE RETRIBUTION. Elijah comes here and prophesies the fall of Ahab. The next peal, the next flash, fulfil the prediction. There, where he did the wrong, he died. In Jezreel, Ahab died. In Jezreel, Jezebel died. That plain was the battlefield for the subsequent discomfiture of Israel.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.