Bad to the Bone (Ahab and Jezebel)
“Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.”
1 Kings 16:30-31
READ 1 Kings 18:1-19:3.
King Ahab already struggled. His wife, Jezebel, did not help. They were like an outlaw couple with the rule of law in their hands. It was a bad combination! My heart goes out to anyone who had to be a prophet of God at that time. Jezebel was out to kill anyone who remained faithful to the true God. Elijah, one of the main prophets, was the first person on her list.
Probably one of the most popular stories in the Bible involves Elijah calling down fire from heaven. God was ending a famine that lasted several years, and he did it in a miraculous fashion. Elijah boldly called a showdown on Mount Carmel that involved two altars. The prophets of Baal (Jezebel’s minions) spent the entire day trying to call on Baal to light a fire to their sacrifice. They cut themselves, performed dances and other rituals to no avail. After little success, Elijah came up and dug a trench around his altar. He poured so much water on it that the trench was full to the brim. Then, he called on God to show up, and boy did He! He rained down fire, devouring the sacrifice AND the water! After this, Elijah, feeling really brave, killed every single one of the prophets of Baal. Cue a death threat from Jezebel that rang around the globe.
Ahab and Jezebel were the type of rulers that did whatever they wanted and destroyed anyone who tried to stop them. They honestly seemed to be pretty successful at it if it weren’t for Elijah always messing things up. To think, when Elijah heard the death threat, right after calling down fire from heaven, he ran for his life. But God had other plans. A few chapters later (1 Kings 22), God used another prophet to confirm that Ahab was about to die a terrible death. Not too long after, his wife Jezebel was thrown out of a window and left to be eaten by wild dogs.
What can we possibly learn from this devastating love story? Galatians 6:7-8 states, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”. While we hate to say it, it must be said. If you find yourself living a life of self-gratification and zero self-discipline, it’s time to change course! Ahab and Jezebel led each other straight to their own demise. How different their story might have been if they had only influenced each other to live positively!
- Are you a positive influence on your spouse? Do you bring out the best in him or her? If not, how can you do a better job of supporting and pushing them to be their best selves?
- The Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death. What is your responsibility to live a godly life? What influence does your behavior have on others - including your children?
- The story of Ahab and Jezebel shows us the impact that one’s actions can have on another. The wise stewardship of influence is absolutely essential in the times that we live. No man (or woman) lives unto him- or herself. Take the time to evaluate how your actions impact others and then make any necessary adjustments.
- The concept of sowing and reaping weaves throughout the Bible. We see it in the story of Ruth, and you will even see it again in tomorrow’s devotional about Elisha’s friends. God is trying to tell us something - we hope you’re listening!
Read Galatians 6:7-8 again. What does it mean to please the flesh or please the Spirit? Discuss these concepts with your spouse.