Ahab and Jezebel – 1 Kings 16

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

As Asa was nearing the end of his reign in Judah, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had gone through a series of immoral kings. Theirs was a revolving door of turmoil, complete with palace conspiracies and intrigues.  One rogue king overthrew another, finally leading to the inglorious reign of Ahab.  Ahab chose 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 the prophets of the Lord and installed 450 prophets of Baal to serve in their place.

Baal was the god of the Amorites.  He, along with the god Asherah, turned the people of Israel away from their God to worship the idols of the land.  They believed that these gods were the ones responsible for providing their daily needs of food and finance.  The idols’ worship events also provided a tempting outlet for the pursuit of carnal pleasure that was outside of God’s plan for marriage and a healthy family.

One can only imagine how displeased that the Lord was with this turn of events.  He alone had freed the people from slavery in Egypt and brought them into this good land.  He loves His people and wants them to joyfully worship Him, the only true and good God.

Jezebel had a power over mankind that was more than physical.  She possessed a dark spiritual power that was a type of spiritual antichrist, a messiah of evil. This spirit led people away from the light, truth and redemption of God towards an existence of despair. It produced a stream of misery and destruction through all that was good in their lives.

Many hundreds of years after Jezebel’s time on earth, Jesus Christ appeared before the apostle John in a vision, as recorded in the last book of the Bible, The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  In this book, He spoke a warning to the church at Thyatira about a dark spirit that was leading some of His lambs 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 walked upon it.  These were even impacting people of faith, misleading them, and leading them away from God and down a path towards Hades.  As Solomon 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, these verses proved prophetic.  Even Solomon in his later years would fall victim to this dark spirit, lured to idol worship by his foolish pursuit of many women who worshiped other gods.  By the end of his days, Solomon’s faith in the Lord had been dimmed, and he even 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 even Solomon can fall victim, we must be extra careful not to follow after tempting spirits of any kind, no matter our position, gender or laurels. Only by relying on God can He bring us safely through to a faithful life for the remaining days He has ordained for us.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace shall lead me home. “Amazing Grace” John Newton, 1779.

Reflection

In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul reminds us that our daily battles are not really against other people, but against spiritual forces and struggles 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

We live in a fallen world, and 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 rulers of darkness.

That is why the Lord opposes the spirit of Jezebel so much.  She was (and is) highly effective at influencing people to abandon the God who made them and to pursue a path of rebellion against Him.  The fruits of her efforts will be unavoidably bitter.  What only seems to be satisfaction turns out to be lack and poverty.  Her victims eventually find themselves at the dead-end of a trail littered with painful consequences.

What hope is there for the one who wakes up, comes to their senses, and begins to recognize their hopeless position after chasing such folly?

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

God promises us that if we turn back to Him and confess our sin, He will not condemn us.  He will forgive us and restore us, putting us back on a path of reconciliation, healing and restoration with the people around us.  While the end result may look different than what we had before, He will do for us what we are not able to do for ourselves, and will give us peace.

If despair is where you find yourself today, have hope!  He loves you and will never leave you nor forsake you.  He only wants you to return to Him, and will provide miraculous blessings all along the road to recovery.

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