Posted by: arieliondotcom | May 6, 2013

Sold Out (1 Kings 21)

Sold Out
(1 Kings 21)

We’ve already seen in past chapters what a weak-willed man King Ahab of Israel is. (Remember that the tribe of Judah had been split off from the rest of Israel. Ahab and Jezebel were ruling Israel from Samaria while Judah was being ruled by a different king from Jerusalem).

Part of Ahab’s weakness is deferring to his wife, Jezebel. So when he wants a piece of land next to the palace grounds, but the man who owns it won’t sell it, Ahab pouts on his bed like a child and won’t eat. Jezebel asks what’s wrong and Ahab whines that he couldn’t get what he wanted so Jezebel says that she will take care of it. As queen she had no authority whatsoever so she had to forge orders in the king’s name and under his stamp of approval to have the man who would not sell the land trapped by liars and murdered.
You should be remembering that this is similar to how David acted by having Uriah the Hittite murdered so David could have Uriah’s wife Bathsheba.

The owner of the land had done nothing wrong. He rightly treasured the inheritance he’d gotten from his father and would pass to his children. But Ahab and Jezebel sold themselves out to sin when they couldn’t buy what they wanted. That phrase “sold himself to sin” is literally used several times throughout the chapter.

And it’s not only Ahab and Jezebel who sin. As David had accomplices in killing Uriah, Jezebel had accomplices in having innocent Naboth killed. The leaders she sent commands to in Ahab’s name never questioned being asked to do something plainly wrong. And they never hesitated in murdering an innocent man or using plainly “worthless” men to do it. This should remind you of the religious leaders in Jerusalem who got worthless Judas to sell his soul to the devil for 30 pieces of silver to betray JESUS. These so-called leaders had an innocent man murdered by selling their souls for free for fear of the king.

When word gets back to the palace that the mission is accomplished and the owner of the field Ahab wants is dead Jezebel tells the still pouting Ahab to go and lay claim to the land. And the way she words it has the same cynical tone of the coroner in the Wizard of Os when he says the wicked old witch is “not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.” But no one wicked is dead here. Yet. Only the innocent Naboth.

Ahab obeys his wife, as usual, and is still in the murdered man’s land claiming it when Elijah arrives, sent by GOD. We remember that Elijah had been used by GOD earlier to give the people of Israel, including Ahab and Jezebel, a second chance. GOD had used Elijah to show by miracles that only the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the true GOD. And Elijah was used to kill the false prophets. Now this same Elijah, probably with a broken heart, was here to tell Ahab GOD had seen what had been done and that dogs would lick Ahab’s blood where the blood of the murdered Nahab had been spilled by stoning under false charges. And the effects of all the idolatry and evil-heartedness of Ahab and Jezebel perverting Israel will bring disaster.

Like the Garden of Eden, where Adam was held responsible for the disobedience of Eve, Ahab was held responsible for what Jezebel had done, literally in his name. And the people were responsible for selling themselves out to sin simply because they feared those who ordered it.

Maybe that second chance did have some effect, though. Ahab repents and mourns so much that GOD says He will not bring the disaster on Israel in Ahab’s lifetime for him to see and feel guilty, since he already did. As we will see in the next chapter, however, the prophecy of his early death and its circumstances will still occur. Selling ourselves to sin always has consequences. And Scripture says that Ahab, encouraged by equally if not more evil Jezebel, sold themselves and Israel into more sin than anyone.

The name of the murdered man, Naboth, literally means fruitful. And it was because the land was so fruitful as well as so close that Ahab wanted it for himself. There are echoes here of a parable JESUS taught about unworthy vineyard workers who had the vineyard owner’s son killed so there would be no one but them for the landowner to give the land.

It is the very fruitfulness of the Life of JESUS that made others jealous of Him and hate Him. And the same will be true of followers of JESUS. Scripture says
the wages of sin is death. We need to work at sin, to willingly sell ourselves to it, to work for it, spend time and money on it. Sin is costly. But the free gift of GOD is eternal Life. That very freedom is a frustration to sinners, though.

The workers in the vineyard had to work to get the produce of the ground, and pay others to work it, if the true Owner’s Son was killed when they could have eaten of it and been paid for it while the Master’s Son lived. Ahab could have had the produce of the land for free, if he’d asked Naboth for it, but craved the one thing he couldn’t have, the land itself. Then he ended up paying for it anyway with purchase and then with his life.

Scripture says JESUS purchased our freedom on the cross. He paid the wages of our sin, having none of His own, with His Life. And He rose in eternal life to show He is true Owner in every sense now. Eternal Life is free for us because He paid for it with His own Life. And His words on the Cross included “It is finished.” “Transaction complete.” “Bought and paid for.” When the Bible says JESUS ever lives to make intercession for us it doesn’t mean He’s literally praying forever. He is our receipt to show forever we are paid for. Just as the Holy Spirit in Believers is the “Purchased” label on our souls showing we were bought by Christ.

What or whom are we selling ourselves out to rather than freely giving ourselves to Christ who freely gave Himself for us? Whose receipt do we have on our souls? Bought by Christ or sold out by our selfishness as slaves to Satan?

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