1 Kings 21:1-4
And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel…
I. UNBRIDLED DESIRE.
1. The spirit in which Ahab came. He came down to Jezreel not to present a thank offering to God for recent deliverance, nor to inquire what might be done to meet the wishes or improve the condition of the people. Had he come thus, paths of usefulness would have opened up before him, and, instead of the dark memory of guilt, he would have left behind him blessing and praise. God and man were alike shut out, and self was set up as that which alone was to be regarded and served. Such spirit not only stands open to temptation; it invites it. Right aims shut out is half Satan's victory.
2. How the temptation presented itself. He was about to make improvements upon the palace, and his eye fell on Naboth's vineyard. This made into a garden of herbs would secure greater privacy and allow other improvements to be carried out. As he looked only upon his own things the advantages of the acquisition were magnified, the fire of desire was kindled and fanned into even fiercer flame. A selfish spirit is ready to be set on fire by the slightest spark of evil suggestion. There was much in God's recent goodness, much also in the necessities of Israel, to raise Ahab above so small a care. The spirit of selfish discontent, which "never is, but always to be, blest," makes thankfulness and service alike impossible. If it rule us we are already set in the way of sin. From the spot on which we stand a hundred dark paths branch out - envies, jealousies, falsehood, dishonest dealing, mean lying artifices, thefts, murders. When tempted to set the heart on what we have not, let us come back into the midst of the good which God has given, and say that if He see it to be best for us, that will be given too.
3. How the object was pursued. All restraints were cast aside. Ahab's offer (ver. 2) seems at first sight most generous. But it shut out of sight
(1) the ties which bound Naboth to his inheritance, and
(2) the duty he owed to God.
The Israelite could not alienate his lot even when pressed by direst necessity. It might be parted with for a time, but it returned again to its rightful owners at the year of jubilee. Ahab's offer was a temptation to Naboth to think lightly of God's arrangements and to despise his birthright.
II. MISDIRECTED ANGER. "Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased," not with himself, but with Naboth. His anger was not against his sin, but against the man who had rebuked it. He might have stood and said, "I have sinned. I have abused my position. I have been caring for my own good, and not for theirs over whom God has set me." But he took the side of his sin against the truth. He that struck at that struck him. When God meets us as He then met Ahab, we must either return humbled and penitent into the right way, or withstand Him and pass into deeper darkness. - U.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.