Monday, October 29, 2012

Political Choices: 2 Chron: 17 -20

“Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” was not so much a question as it was God’s rebuke to Jehosephat, the King of Judah “who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”. (1 Kings 22:43)

Jehosephat’s “heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 17:6) and he did so much that was right in Judah. He sent teachers of the Law to numerous towns so that people’s hearts would turn back to God.  As Judah became stronger in her relationship with God,  the “fear of the Lord fell on the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so they didn’t make war with Jehosephat.” (2 Chronicles 17:10)

Though Jehosephat personally loved the Lord, it appears that he regarded his physical, racial relationship to Israel as more important than the spiritual divide between  Israel and Judah.  Because Ahab was a fellow Hebrew, a son of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Jehosephat aligned Judah and Israel politically by countenancing his son’s marriage to Ahab’s daughter. Through this marriage, Jehosephat’s son, Jehoram, made Jezebel’s daughter into the future queen of Judah.

Jehosephat who zealously brought Torah knowledge and teaching throughout Judah because he thought it was important for Judah, lowered the bar for Israel.  Isarel had rejected Jehovah, the God of Israel, and worship Baal and numerous other pagan deities.  Spiritually, Israel was no longer related to Judah.  Yet, Jehosephat chose to align himself politically with a people who unabashedly defied the God of Israel.  Jehosephat took his eyes off of his relationship with God and instead focused on his racial relationship to Israel.

When Jehosephat took his eyes off of what God called important, he saw only the physical relationship.  That Israel defied God and His statutes and commandments, did not bother Jehosephat.  At a banquet, Jehosephat told Ahab “ I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” (2 Chronicles 18:3)

Though God told the kings the outcome of this war, Jehosephat stood by Ahab.  After Ahab was killed and the battle was lost, God spoke to Jehosephat through Jehu the seer. “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this the wrath of the Lord is upon you.” (2 Chronicles 19: 2)

Though Jehosephat loved the Lord and served Him, he was being judged for aligning himself with people who defied God. 

This brings me to consider the 2012 election in the United States.  The Democratic Party champions abortion, gay rights, and same sex marriage.  This part of the platform explicitly defies God’s Law. (Exodus 20:13; Genesis 2:20 – 24; Leviticus 18:22)
The Republican Party platform does not formally embrace these positions.

Given the formal Party statements, I feel that it behooves believers to politically align themselves with the political party that acknowledges and embraces God’s Law.  While most of the time responsibility for honoring God’s Law is the individual’s response to God, abortion and marriage became national federal law issues.  As such, each believer really should align himself with God in the political arena because God really does care how we vote.
Again Jehu’s admonition: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate God?”
In spite of how good a King Jehosephat was, God’s wrath was upon him because he sided
politically against God. 

If, as a nation we side with God on these national issues, perhaps we can avert God’s wrath upon the United States.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2 King's 10, 11, 12 : God's Promise to King David of the tribe of Judah

Genesis 49: 10   The scepter will not depart from Judah

2 Samuel 7: 11b – 16
The Lord declares to you that the Lord Himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for my Name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father and he will be my son.  When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

Speaking to King David through the prophet Nathan,   God promised King David that his house and his kingdom would be established forever.  When King David died, His son Solomon succeeded him as King of Israel.    Later, Solomon’s son, Rehoboam succeeded him.  During Rehoboam’s  reign Israel was divided into two: the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and into Judah.  King David’s descendants, to this point in 2 Kings 11, were Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehosephat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Joash. 

The Northern Kingdom, however,  had numerous rulers with no lasting dynasty.  God’s promise of continuity was only to King David of the tribe of Judah.

Although King David's direct line was on the throne, as God promised, Satan attempted to make God into a liar.  There is a bloody coup in 2 Kings 11.  Ahaziah’s mother, Queen Athaliah, who was also the daughter of Israel’s King Ahab and Jezebel, seized the throne of Judah after Ahaziah was assassinated by Jehu. Spawned by Jezebel, Athaliah was Ba-al’s true believer.  As such, there was nothing about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that she loved. No doubt, she was greatly angered by God’s promise to establish David’s line and God's vow to curse her father’s line. After her son and his cousins were murdered by Jehu, the newly anointed King of Israel, her fury against God probably intensified.  Athaliah, who gave her life to Baal worship, had witnessed God’s prophecy against her parents come true.  Seething in her hatred of God, she  resolved to thwart God – to make God’s promise to King David null and void, even though it meant murdering her own grandchildren.  In fact, she ordered all of her male grandchildren to be murdered.

But, God’s Word does not return to Him empty. 

Fortunately, Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba, managed to hide her brother’s infant son, Joash, with his nurse in the temple.  Miraculously, no-one missed him when his brothers were being slaughtered.

Never suspecting that any of her grandsons survived the massacre, Athaliah ruled over Judah for seven years.  She probably believed that she, in Ba-al's strength, had won this round against God.  Nevertheless, God cannot be mocked.  When Joash was seven, he was presented to Judah, as heir to the throne by the priest Jehoiada.  As soon as he was anointed King of Judah in the temple, the temple guards executed Athaliah.

God honored His promise to King David then as even now He continues to honor His Word to Israel.

Even Balaam, who was hired to mightily curse Israel, could not do so.  In Numbers 23: 19  it is written:

“God is not a man, that He should lie; nor a son of man, that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? 

God’s promises, the oaths which He swore to Abraham, to Moses, to King David concerning the people Israel, the land of Israel, and the purpose of Israel all continue to stand firm and to be true for the One who made these oaths does not change His mind. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2 Kings 8, 9, 10: God's Sovereignty - His Prophecies Fulfilled

Isaiah 55:11 "So is my Word that goes out from my mouth;  It will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which it was sent."

God’s Word does not return to Him empty.  Throughout the Bible, God spoke through men oftentimes making proclamations about the future.  As humans, we have an ordinary grasp of time – we know the past  from which we have emerged and we have a handle on the present that we experience.   But, for humans the future is always uncertain.  Though we make plans, there is no guarantee that our plans will come to anything. 
God, however,  who created all that is – space, matter, and time – is Lord over all; Sovereign over everything.  Since God created time, He is Lord over time.  God knows the future as well as He knows the past.  God imparted knowledge of the future to select individuals who were called prophets.  In these chapters in 2 Kings, we read how God’s Word, spoken through prophets,  was fulfilled.
While Elisha was en route to Damascus to anoint Hazael as King of Aram, which was an assignment initially given to his predecessor Elijah, Hazael, sent by Ben-Hadad, King of Aram was on his way to meet Elisha.  Though Elisha did not actually anoint Hazael as King, he told him that he would succeed Ben-Hadad and that he would commit atrocities against Israel.  The very next day, Hazael assassinated the King of Aram and seized the throne.  During the course of his reign, Hazael waged war against Israel greatly reducing Israel’s territory.
Several years earlier,  God told Elijah to annoint of Jehu, יֵהוּא , son of Nimshi, whose name means “Jehovah is He” as King of Israel.  However, because Elijah was caught up to heaven in a whirlwind with chariots of fire before he could anoint Jehu,  this assignment fell upon Elisha who delegated another prophet to actually anoint Jehu.   
  Under Ahab's rule, Israel was a country hostile to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Ba-al worship was endorsed and supported by the monarchy.  Though people remembered the God that Moses taught, their allegiance to God was wavering.   Jehu, a prominent military man who was known to King Ahab, was consorting with fellow officers when a prophet sent by Elisha, publicly called him aside.  After anointing him to be King of Israel, the prophet charged him with  God’s Word originally spoken to Elijah regarding the house of Ahab.  Jehu was told to carry out  the disaster God vowed to bring upon the house of Ahab. (1 Kings 21)  All of this occurred  hastily and without fanfare. 
 In accepting kingship over Israel, Jehu also embraced God’s Will.  It would seem that, in his heart,  Jehu was prepared to hear and respond to God’s call. The reading of these chapters, shows that he was already familiar with God's judgment on Ahab.  When his fellow officers learned what had transpired, they immediately recognized him as king and rallied behind him. 
Though several years passed between the time that God proclaimed a judgment against the house of Ahab, though disbelieving people were probably lulled into ignoring God’s Word, God set about bringing His Words to fruition.  As soon as Jehu was anointed King of Israel, he, with his extensive following, set about fulfilling God's Word. Ultimately, as God had stated in 1 Kings 21:21, every male, slave or free, from the house of Ahab was slain.  
During the reign of Jehu, whose very name bore witness to the absolute reality of Jehovah, the God of Israel, all of God's judgments against the godless monarchy of Israel were fulfilled.
Elijah prophesied against Jezebel,  the wife of King Ahab, who urged Ahab into deeper Ba-al worship and greater godlessness, in 1 Kings 21:24 when he said that dogs will devour her by wall of Jezreel.  As it turned out, she  was flung from her balcony.  Then, shortly afterwards,  a pack of dogs attacked her body devouring everything except for her skull, hands and feet (2 Kings 9: 34 - 36).   God's Word was fulfilled because He did not intend for her to have a dignified, royal funeral.  
During his reign of twenty-eight years, Jehu, King of Israel, unlike other the kings of Israel,
 stood for God.  God used him to fulfill His Word and to stand as a beacon, bringing back the knowledge of  God, the Creator and king of the Universe, to a wayward nation. 
It's a curious and interesting aspect of God's witness of Himself that He used fulfilled prophecy    to bring Jehu and his subjects, Israel,  into a relationship with Him.  Because Jehu was familiar with  prophecy spoken against the house of Ahab, he understood that God was acting to bring about His Word.  Similarly, today, God continues to use fulfilled prophecy to bring the world into a relationship with Him.  Fulfilled prophecy always testifies of the One who made the prophecy and of the One who orchestrated its fulfillment.  
Though our Bible is historical it is also largely prophetic.  While much has been fulfilled, there is still a significant amount awaiting fulfillment.   Those who will see the remaining fulfillment of God's Word will be able to fall to their knees and proclaim that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, is indeed King of the Universe, Sovereign over  all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

God's Sovereign Protection of Israel: 2 Kings 6, 7

Joram of Israel was a king of the northern Kin...Image via Wikipedia
Israel today is a country surviving in the midst of a hostile world.  Her immediate neighbors wish fervently to completely eradicate her while her strongest supporter, the United States, has become tepid and lukewarm.  Although the general populace of America strongly supports Israel,  Washington seeks either Arab approbation or simply Israel's demise.  At any rate, the current administration has distanced itself from Israel.   With the Palestinian bid for statehood being considered by the UN, Israel must feel even more threatened.

But, none of this is really news.

From Israel's inception, the peoples surrounding this fledging nation have sought her destruction.  Around 875 BC, the prophet Elisha who ministered to the Northern Kingdom (of Israel), was able to warn Joram, king of Israel, of where the Arameans (modern day Syrians) were planning to attack Israel. (2 Kings 6)
Supernaturally, God protected His people, Israel even though they had turned from Him and violated their covenant relationship with God.  God informed Elisha of the Aramean encampments so that King Joram would not suffer any surprise attacks.

Eventually, when Ben-Hadad, the Aramean king, learned that Elisha the prophet had supernatural access to his military plans, he decided to capture Elisha.  I would suspect that even though Elisha probably knew that Ben-Hadad was coming after him, he chose to stay put in Dothan because he trusted in his Sovereign God to protect him.  In 2 Kings 6: 15-23, Elisha stepped out of his house in the morning to see a a mighty contingency of Aramean soldiers, horses, and chariots.

2 Kings 6: 15- 17  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.  "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered.  "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And, Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Elisha saw with spiritual eyes into the spiritual realm and knew that God was going to protect him.  There was nothing to fear.  And, even thought his servant couldn't see the army of the living God, he would still have been protected by God.  While it's reassuring to actually see God's protective forces around you, we can't always see into the spiritual realm.  But, we can read God's Word and trust Him to keep His Word; to honor the covenant He initiated and ratified.

Genesis 17:19 Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."

Psalm 121:4 Behold, He that keepeth Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man that He should lie; nor a son of man that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? 

Even though the nations turn from Israel today; even though the United States is distancing herself from Israel, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised to be ever the same.  God selected a family and made a nation out of it.  True, as any loving father on occasion must discipline his child, God has, on occasion, disciplined Israel .  Discipline is not rejection but correction which should serve to bring a wayward child back into his father's loving arms.  While a child may resent discipline, a parent never ceases to love his child and to yearn for his company.

In 2 Kings, after Elisha recognized God's army which greatly outnumbered the Aramean army, he prayed that God would strike the Aramean army with blindness so that he could lead them into the capitol city of Samaria.  These troops were not killed - rather, the king of Israel feted them and then sent them back to Aram.  Here, God showed the Arameans that Israel's national security relied neither on military force nor strategy.  God demonstrated that He Himself was Israel's protector.  

While there was peace for a little while,  Ben-Hadad returned with his forces around 850 BC and besieged Samaria.  Even though Israel starved during this siege, ultimately God caused the Arameans to be struck with such a great fear that they suddenly abandoned their camp and all of their goods and hastily fled as though being pursued.  Thus, God lifted the siege and fed His people Israel.  

The most important take away point from this account is to remember that God fights for Israel.  Nothing has changed. Israel must pray and strive to remember that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is Sovereign over Creation: time, space, life, everything.

L'Shana Tova

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

2 Kings: 4, 5, 6 : A Catalog of Miracles: Elisha

Tremendous miracles, signs, and wonders were seen throughout Samaria, the Northern Kingdom of Israel which was so deeply entrenched in pagan worship.  No, pagan deities did not perform miracles.  Rather, through Elisha the prophet, God worked miracles and made the supernatural into the expected or anticipated.  

Throughout these chapters, God’s love and compassion were highlighted as He met the deepest needs of people while revealing His love for each one. 

Narrative 1: When creditors were about to sell a widow’s children into slavery in order to satisfy her husbands debts, she cried out to Elisha for help.  She knew that God would help her.

Elisha asked the woman what she had in the house.  When she answered that she had a bit of oil, he instructed her to get as many jars as she could from everyone in the village and then to pour the oil from her supply into these jars.  The oil continued to flow until she ran out of jars.  God worked with what she had; with what she made available to Him.  The widow was able to pay off her creditors and still have enough money on which to live. 

Narrative 2: A wealthy Shunamite woman extended hospitality to Elisha because she perceived that he was a man of God.  In a sense, she worshipped the God of Israel when first she provided meals for Elisha and then secondly, when she built an addition to her house so that he could rest comfortably when he was in the area.  By honoring Elisha, she honored the God he served.  She gave freely without asking for anything of God.  Because he appreciated what she had done for him, Elisha wanted to extend a blessing upon her.  When he understood that she was without child, he prophesied that within a year, she would have a son.  It happened exactly as Elisha said.

Many years later, the Shunamite’s son died in childhood.  Instead of grieving, calling her husband, notifying her neighbors and family, she resolutely mounted a donkey and hurried to Elisha at Mount Carmel.  This time she had a request of God – a full fledged need for the God of Israel to meet.   She told Elisha that her son had died and that she wouldn’t have known this pain if she never had a son in the first place.  Elisha raised the boy from the dead.

Narrative 3:  During a famine, when a group of prophets of the God of Israel prepared a stew of desert vegetation, a poisonous plant was mistakenly used.  The hungry prophets cried out to Elisha that the stew was poisoned.  Elisha asked for flour to be brought to him.  After he threw some of their flour into the stew, Elisha declared that it was safe to eat.  In faith, the men ate and were not harmed.

Narrative 4:  When a man from Baal Shalishah brought Elisha twenty loaves of barley bread, Elisha instructed his servant to feed those loaves to the hundred men who were with him.  When his servant questioned Elisha’s order to feed the hundred men with twenty loaves of bread, Elisha simply quoted God’s Word to him, “They will eat and have some left over.”

Narrative 5:  When an iron axe head a prophet had borrowed accidentally fell into the Jordan River, he was overcome with anxiety.  At that time an iron axe head was extremely valuable and not readily replaced.  The prophet worried because it sank in the Jordan River and he would not be able to return it.  Showing how much God cared for this man, Elisha threw a piece of wood in the spot where it was dropped, and miraculously the axe head floated up to the surface.  The prophet was then able to retrieve it.

Narrative 6:  Naaman, a pagan and an important commander in the army of the King of Aram, was afflicted with leprosy.  There was no healing for this disease. His situation was dire.  His situation was hopeless until a young Israelite slave told Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel who healed people.   Somehow, both Naaman and the King of Aram came to believe that it was the King of Israel who healed people.  So, equipped with a letter from the king of Aram in which he asked the King of Israel for a cure, Naaman set out for Israel.   When the King of Israel read this letter, he protested and thought that the Arameans were trying to pick a fight with him.  An international crisis threatened!
When Elisha heard this, he reminded the King that Israel did indeed have a prophet of God – him.  With great expectations, Naaman then went to Elisha.  But, a messenger met him with a word from Elisha: wash in the Jordan seven times and you will be cleansed.
Naaman was probably used to pagan priests who waved their hands, danced, recited incantations, cut themselves, etc.  Elisha simply gave him God’s Word via a messenger – pure and simple.  There was nothing complicated to do – just wash seven times in the Jordan.

Naaman was furious – maybe he felt cheated.  Enraged, he was ready to leave.  But, since one of his servants managed to get him to listen to Elisha’s command, Naaman washed in the Jordan as prescribed and was cured.  But, greater than the cure was his confession, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” 2 Kings 5: 15.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2 Kings 1, 2, 3 Prophecies Fulfilled

The Jordan River runs along the border between...Image via Wikipedia
When God speaks prophetically through a man, God's Word comes true.  However, prophets are not like fortune tellers in that they don't use tarot cards, crystal balls, or devices to communicate the future simply because someone requests it.  Prophets speak God's Word when God choses to speak through them.  Typically, these prophecies have significant national and spiritual ramifications.  In fact these opening chapters are replete with supernatural events that are recorded as though they were normal.

So, 2 Kings opens with the fulfillment of God Word as spoken through Elijah the Tishbite.  Though Ahab's son succeeded his father to the throne, he died shortly afterwards.  There were no heirs.  The prophecy spoken in 1 Kings 21:17-29 was fulfilled.

In the sight of his apprentice and fifty other prophets, Elijah the Tishbite, was taken up to heaven when  chariots of fire suddenly appeared and carried him off. Elijah never died - he was taken up to heaven alive. After this, the Spirit of God came to rest on Elisha who was empowered to divide the waters of the Jordan River, as Elijah had done earlier.

Some time later, after supernaturally removing toxic substances from a vital spring, Elisha was walking near Bethel when a group of forty two youth ganged up on him, followed him,  viciously scorning and mocking him.  In Hebrew, mocked is  קָלַס (qalac), which means to deride, to pronounce to be worthless.  This was not a good-natured, innocent childish prank.  These young people  expressed a hatred and disregard for the God of Israel, that they learned in their homes.  This group of youth  publicly harassed a man upon whom Spirit of God rested and through whom miracles have already been accomplished.  Maybe because Elisha saw these humans as full fledged instruments of demons, he called a curse on them in the Name of the Lord. Curse,  execration, or  קְלָלָה (qĕlalah) in Hebrew, is not a spell but rather a statement of how absolutely loathesome or detestable a behaviour is (in God's eyes).  

All sin is is an abomination before God; all sin separates man from a holy God.   When those kids on the road around Bethel scorned Elisha, they were in fact scorning and ridiculing the God of Israel. When  Elisha proclaimed, in the Name of God, how reprehensible they were before God, two bears emerged from  the forest and mauled them.  God showed that He agreed with Elisha.

Later, when the forces of Moab gathered to fight against Joram, King of Israel, God gave Israel a supernatural edge over them, causing Moab to be defeated and their towns routed.

In these chapters, God acted supernaturally not just to protect the land of His people, but also to further demonstrate that He alone is God, Sovereign over All, Creator of the Universe.  The physical and temporal world in which man lives is but one aspect of the universe over which God has dominion.  Israel was to note the miracles attending Elijah and Elisha, as well as the other prophets, and to turn to the God of Israel, and worship Him alone.   But, mostly, God showed that no matter what, He would not give up on His people, Israel.

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for qalac (Strong's 7046)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 25 May 2011. < http://
Strongs=H7046&t=KJV >

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for qĕlalah (Strong's 7045)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 25 May 2011. < http://
Strongs=H7045&t=KJV >

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

1 Kings 20, 21, 22 Ahab and God's Judgment

Version of the Omride genealogy using the Sept...Image via Wikipedia
Of all Biblical couples,  Ahab and his wife Jezebel share a legendary notoriety.  Ahab, the King of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, reigned while the prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, proclaimed God's Word to a nation that rejected God.  King Ahab embraced Baal worship, encouraged all forms of pagan idolatry, but actively persecuted the prophets of the Lord, the God of Israel.  Yet, throughout his reign, God spoke to Ahab at critical points of his reign in an attempt to encourage Ahab to recognize that the Lord, alone, is God.  If Ahab accepted the God of Israel as Sovereign God, then the rest of the nation would follow suite.

It's a great mystery, that though God knows the future and how everything will play out, He still gives man the freedom of choice.  In fact, God mandates that man must make his own choices; that He will not coerce anyone into a relationship with Him.  So, before the events in these final chapters of 1 Kings took place, God already told Elijah the Tishbite that he had to complete three tasks before retiring: anoint a new king over Aram;  anoint a new line of kings over Israel;  anoint a new prophet to Israel.   In other words, God prophesied that Ben Hadad, the King of Aram, who was a powerful force with extensive alliances, would be defeated and deposed during Elijah's lifetime; God prophesied that the greatly feared tyrant Ahab and his line, would be eradicated from Israel's political arena. 

 Another facet of God's mercy is that before He brought charges against Ahab, God informed him of His plans.  In Hebrew, to bring against,  בּוֹא (bow'), carries the implication of effecting an attack against an enemy or of bringing an adversary before a tribunal, where judgement is meted out.   God does judge but He always makes His plans known to man beforehand. (see Noah)  When one knows the judgment and why it is given, it is still possible to repent and to align oneself with God.

Though Ahab was a merciless, ruthless, tyrannical leader who led his people away from worshipping the God of Israel, God  continued to  reach out to him.  When Ben Hadad's formidable forces which greatly outnumbered Israel's army,  attacked Israel, God spoke with  Ahab, through a prophet, three times on three separate occasions  to tell him that He would supernaturally defeat the armies of Ben Hadad, so that Ahab would know that the Lord is God.  (1 Kings 20: 14, 22, 28)

Before the Aramean attack, Ahab already witnessed the contest on Mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal and Elijah, the prophet of God.  Elijah called down God's fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice while the prophets of Baal were unable to do anything.  Also, the severe drought that afflicted Israel for some years immediately before this contest, was both brought on and ended through the prayers of Elijah, not the prophets of Baal.  Ahab had ample opportunity to accept that "I AM is the Lord" (1 Kings 20:28).

However, though Ahab appreciated the military victory God afforded him, he failed to  acknowledge God's hand in defeating the Arameans and he didn't repent of his rejection of the God of Israel.  Yet, God still didn't give up on him.  By taking possession of Naboth's vineyard, Ahab violated God's Law and God's provision for the allotment of land by clan in Israel.  Because he completely dismissed God's Law in the sight of all Israel,  God proclaimed  a hefty judgment against Ahab, his descendants, and all of the males in his household.  In 1 Kings 21: 17- 24,  God said that dogs would lick up his blood where the blood of Naboth was shed; that dogs would devour his wife Jezebel - effectively, she wouldn't have a burial; that no male descendants of his would survive past his dynasty.

Where all of God's mercy and blessing failed before, this judgment grabbed Ahab's attention.  After all, every king wants his line to continue and every king wants a burial with honor.  This time Ahab repented so God softened the judgment so that it would take effect during his son's reign.  Since the substance of the judgment was not changed,  it may be that that Ahab did not fully repent.

Three years later, Ahab entered into a battle, ostensibly doing God's will.  He wanted to reclaim Ramoth Gilead from the Arameans.  However, before the battle,  a prophet of God told Ahab that the battle would be lost and that he would be killed.  If Ahab had truly given himself over to God when he repented earlier, he might have been able to discern in his spirit that a lying spirit predicted victory and that the prophet of God spoke the truth.  To hedge his bets, just in case God's word was true, Ahab disguised himself so that  the Arameans would think him to be an ordinary soldier.  Ahab believed that he could fool God.  In this instance, after God had revealed Himself so mightily in his life, Ahab still thought that he was more clever than God and that he could deceive Him.

As it turned out, a stray arrow hit Ahab between the sections of his armor. He bled profusely in his chariot, then died.  Later, the blood in the chariot was washed out in a pool in Samaria where dogs did indeed lick his blood where Naboth was stoned.  Ahab was given the honor of a burial and his son Ahaziah succeeded him.

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for bow' (Strong's 935)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 22 May 2011. < http://
Strongs=H935&t=KJV >

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