King Ahab is mostly remembered for his wife, Jezebel; his temper tantrums, and for his ignominious end. King Ahab had inherited great military strength from his father; King Omri, and the kingdom was enjoying great wealth. King Ahab’s life and reign could have been glorious. What went wrong? What can we learn from his life?
- He abandoned God’s commandments-He did not listen to God’s Word.
“When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.” (1 Kings 18:17-18)
King Ahab did not kill the king of Syria as directed by God, he let him go after a covenant. (this decision would come back to kill him, literally)
“And he said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’” And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria.” ( I Kings 20:42-43)
2) He followed the Baals.
King Ahab not only inherited military strategies from his father, he inherited his father’s worship of Baal. Ahab “set up an altar for Baal and made an Asherah.” He then compounded this by marrying “Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, King of the Sidonians.” Ethbaal, King of Tyre/Phoenicia is said to have been a priest of Astarte who murdered the former king of Tyre and took his place on the throne. (Also; during the great drought, Ethbaal is said to have murdered many children to “appease the wrath of the gods to make it rain.”) Her murderous father could explain Jezebel’s lack of hesitation towards assassination- and for her relentless zeal for Baal worship in Israel.
3) He sold himself to do evil-Ahab was a slave to his desires.
Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD. (1 Kings 21:20)
Ahab was envious of Naboth’s vineyard and wanted it. He allowed Jezebel to have Naboth murdered and then he “hastened to Naboth’s vineyard to take possession of it.”
Notice how Ahab moved from being contemptuous of God and His prophets, to being annoyed by them; and eventually, an enemy.
“When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” (I Kings 18:17)
“Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” (I Kings 21:20)
When we turn from God, we will serve idols. And in turning, we become an enemy of God and a slave to sin.
King Ahab started his life with everything the world could offer. He followed his father, his wife, and his own treacherous heart away from God. His life ended propped up in his chariot, wounded by an accidental arrow and watching the war with the Syrians, until he died.
“Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
and the scant measure that is accursed?
Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales
and with a bag of deceitful weights?
Your rich men are full of violence;
your inhabitants speak lies,
and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,
making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
and there shall be hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not preserve,
and what you preserve I will give to the sword.
You shall sow, but not reap;
you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
For you have kept the statutes of Omri,
and all the works of the house of Ahab…”
(Micah 6:10-16, italics mine)