In 1 Kings 21 you’ll find the story of King Ahab. It seems there was a vineyard right next to Ahab’s palace which belonged to a man named Naboth. Ahab wanted the vineyard for an herb garden, so he approached Naboth and offered to trade him another, better vineyard… or he would buy it from him. Naboth told Ahab he could not trade or sell him the land because he was forbidden by the Lord to do so.
Ahab returned to his palace and laid down on his bed. He stared at the wall and refused to eat. His wife, Jezabel, asked him, “Why are you so sad and refusing to eat?”
Ahab told her about his offer to Naboth and his refusal to sell or trade the vineyard to him.
Jezebel said, “Why? Don’t you govern the kingdom of Israel? Get up and eat. Let your heart be merry. I’ll give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezerelite.”
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and nobles in the city where Naboth lived. In the letters, she told them to proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. She also told them to get two men of Belial, to come forward and bear witness against him, saying that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king. They were then to take him out and stone him to death.
All this was done, just as she ordered. When she received word that Naboth had been stoned and he was dead. She said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard, for Naboth is dead.”
Ahab rose up and went down to take over the vineyard, but was met by Elijah, the prophet, whom God had sent. Elijah told him that the Lord was very displeased with him for what happened to Naboth and that he had caused Israel to sin. The Lord said, “Tell him, thus sayeth the Lord: In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall the dogs lick your blood as well…I will bring evil upon you and will take away your prosperity.”
After hearing all the Lord had to say against him, Ahab tore his clothes, put sackcloth on and lay down to fast.
The Lord then said to Elijah, “Seeing that Ahab humbled himself before me, I will not bring evil in his days, but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.
So many lessons we can learn from this story. First off, did you notice how many of God’s commandments were broken by the king and his wife? # 6 Thou shalt not kill. # 8 Thou shalt not steal. # 9 Thou shalt not bear false witness. # 10 Thou shalt not covet (want). Let’s focus on # 10…
Ahab’s first mistake was getting his heart set on possessing the vineyard that belonged to someone else. I’m sure in his kingdom somewhere he had other land he could have used for an herb garden… but Naboth’s vineyard was close by so he wanted it. There was nothing wrong with making an offer to buy or trade for the vineyard…he even offered a better one. Because of an agreement made by his father, Naboth was not able to give up the land, so his answer to Ahab had to be, “No.”
So saddened by Naboth’s refusal to give up the land, Ahab went to bed and refused to eat. Is this how many of us react when we are denied something we really want? Many children act this way when told “no”, but for an adult to act like this seems a bit ridiculous. Even his wife pointed out to him that HE was the one in charge. As king, he didn’t have to take no for an answer. Then she took matters into her own hands…
Jezabel not only told them to lie about Naboth, but she ordered them to have him stoned to death. Where was the king while all this took place? No doubt still lying around, feeling sorry for himself. One thing we women should take away from this is to never interfere with our husbands’ business deals…especially if we do not intend to deal fairly.
Had Ahab simply accepted the fact that Naboth could not give him the land, all would have been well. How many times have we looked back and thought, if only I hadn’t said this or done that? The one thing to his credit is the fact that, once confronted by the Lord through Elijah, Ahab felt bad and humbled himself. The Lord, as always, was quick to accept his humbleness and put off the evil He had promised…at least until a later date.
Sometimes we ask for something from God that He knows would not be in our best interest…and His answer to our prayer is “No.” Do we get angry and upset at God when this happens? To us it seems like a clear answer, something we really want and need. Why can’t He just make people do as we wish and circumstances change to fit our ideas of what is best?
Thankfully, God is in a much better position than we, so has a much clearer view of every thing that happens in our lives. We think we know what we need…He knows for sure. When we pray and ask that His will be done, then we must be willing to accept His will no matter what it is. So many people are miserable and complain that nothing ever goes their way, but God tells us in His word that all things work to the good for those who love Him and seek His way… Maybe that’s the problem right there.
We are to set our thoughts and desires on things in heaven, not here on earth where a thief can come and take it away at any time. The devil is the greatest thief of all. Let’s not give him room to work by taking our eyes off Jesus and wanting things we can not have.
Deut. 5: 21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor’s.