1 Kings 21:15-29
And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise…
I. To ENJOY THE FRUITS OF SIN IS TO TAKE ITS GUILT. "Hast thou killed?" etc. It is not said that Ahab knew of the plot. The plain inference is that he did not. Jezebel wrote to the elders, and to her the tidings were sent that the deed was done. But if Ahab did not know before, he knew after. Knowing how it had been procured he nevertheless received it, and heard as he stood there the word of the Lord: "Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?" There are men, for example, who could not pass their days in the vile drink traffic. They could not sleep at night for thought of the wives and mothers and children whose misery had pleaded in God's sight against them and their work. The thought of the souls they had helped to lead down into the eternal darkness would terrify them. But they can pocket the gains of that very trade; they can receive the higher rent which their property secures because it is let to the sellers of drink, and live in quietness, and sit at the Lord's table, and die in good esteem, and go forth to meet - what? the same judgment as the publican! Your reputable merchant may not lie and cheat; but if the young men that serve behind his counters do so, and if he knowingly pockets the gains of such baseness, he is equally guilty in God's sight. To take the fruit of falsehood and oppression and wrong is to stain our souls with their guilt. "Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine." "Behold I will bring evil upon thee," etc. (vers. 21-24).
II. WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FINDS THE TRUTH HATEFUL. Ahab's question, "Hast thou found me?" etc., was a self revelation. There were many to whom Elijah's presence would have been like that of an angel of God; but to Ahab it is as the shadow of death. And the explanation was, "Because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord." It is only to death that the truth is a savour of death. He was sin's bondman. For the gratification of evil desire he had sold himself to work Satan's will, and now in his attitude to God's servant he was owning Satan still as master. It is easy to listen with approval, and with pleasure even, when other men's sins are dealt with; but when our own are touched - when we are met with our feet standing in Naboth's vineyard, what is our attitude toward the truth? Is it anger or submission? Whom do we own as master, Satan or God?
III. THE RICHES OF GOD'S MERCY (vers. 25-29).
1. The greatness of Ahab's sin. He had outstripped all who had gone before him, great as their sins had been; "but there was none like unto Ahab," etc.
2. The inadequacy of his repentance. It was no doubt sincere, but it did not go far enough. It was fear of judgment, not loathing of sin.
3. The fulness of the Divine compassion. Verses 25 and 26 might well have been a prelude to the record of full and speedy vengeance, and especially so in view of the unsatisfactory nature of his sorrow. But it is the introduction to the story of mercy. All that sin - sin of deepest dye - will not prevent God running forth to meet Ahab so soon as he begins to turn to Him. That sorrow, shallow though it was, God had marked and accepted. "Seest thou how Ahab?" etc. God is not a stern, relentless Judge. Father's heart has never yearned over child as God's over us. - U.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.
WEB: It happened, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead."