As King Asa was nearing the end of his reign in the Southern kingdom of Judah, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had gone through an entire series of immoral kings. Their throne was a revolving door of turmoil, complete with palace conspiracies, intrigues, and murder. One rogue king overthrew another, finally leading to the inglorious reign of King Ahab.
Ahab chose Baal-worshiper Jezebel as his wife and life partner, and she certainly turned out to be an extremely poor choice. She used Ahab and his power to kill many prophets of the Lord and installed 450 prophets of Baal in their place.
29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 Now Ahab did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 1 Kings 16:29-33 (NKJV)
Baal was the god of the Amorites. With demonic backing, the worship of him along with the female god, Asherah, turned the hearts of the people of Israel away from their God towards the idols of the land. They believed that these gods were the ones responsible for providing for their daily need of food and finances. The idols’ worship events also provided a tempting outlet for the pursuit of carnal pleasures that were far outside of God’s plan for a faithful marriage and healthy family.
One can only imagine how displeased the Lord was by this turn of events. He alone had freed the people from slavery in Egypt and brought them into this good land. He loved His people and wanted them to joyfully worship and fellowship with Him, the one true and good God.
Queen Jezebel had a power over people that was more than physical. She possessed a dark spiritual power and was a type of spiritual antichrist, a messiah of evil. Her spiritual influence led people away from the Light, the true and redemptive God, and towards an existence of heartache and despair. It produced a stream of misery and destruction that systematically replaced all of the good in their lives.
Many hundreds of years after Jezebel’s time on earth, Jesus appeared before the aging apostle, John, in a vision recorded in the last book of the Bible, The Revelation of Jesus Christ. In this vision, Jesus spoke a warning to the church at Thyatira about a dark spirit that was leading some of their worshippers towards error and death:
19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. Revelation 2:19-20 (NKJV)
The teachings of Jezebel were still being spread throughout the earth long after she had physically departed it. Her legacy is still impacting people of faith, misleading them, and leading them away from God and down the path towards Hades. King Solomon also warned about these principles, as recorded in Proverbs 7.
25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; 26 For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. 27 Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:25-27 (NKJV)
Sadly, Solomon’s verses proved to be prophetic. Even King Solomon, in his later years, would fall victim to this dark spirit, lured away from God to idol worship by his foolish pursuit of many beautiful women who worshiped these other gods. By the end of his days, Solomon’s faith in the Lord had been dimmed, and even he came to regard his bountiful life as one of vanity and folly, as recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes. This dark spirit that later empowered Jezebel had claimed another victim, one who had been at the very pinnacle of human and spiritual achievement.
If Solomon can fall victim, we, too, must be extra careful not to follow after tempting spirits of any kind, no matter our position, gender, achievements, or laurels. Only by relying upon God can He bring us safely through all these temptations to live a faithful life throughout the remainder of the days He has ordained for us. As the great hymn writer, John Newton, wrote in the song, “Amazing Grace”, there is a way to avoid the lures of the modern-day Ahabs and Jezebels – the safe shelter of the Lord’s grace.
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace shall lead me home. John Newton, 1779.
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul reminds us that our daily struggles are not entirely against other people, but also against strong spiritual forces, with a battle going on behind the scenes.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
Living in a fallen world, there are trials and temptations that affect everyone’s lives. Some people have been subjected to troubles and hardships that we might not even be able to imagine, often inflicted at the hands of others who have given in to the influence of the powers of darkness.
If we do fall, there for hope for the one who wakes up and comes to their senses, as the apostle Paul writes:
24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24 (NKJV)
Father God, You have promised that if we turn back to You and confess our sin, You will not condemn us, but forgive and restore us, putting us back on a path of healing and reconciliation with those around us. We enjoy these tremendous blessings through faith in Jesus, His death on the cross for us, and His miraculous resurrection from the dead. We ask for Your ongoing blessing and protection as we seek to love and serve both You and those around us. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.