Today’s post covers a lot action — no less than three coups, assassinations, and a complete religious “cleansing”. But the points to consider here are actually few and pretty straight forward.
Those who corrupt God’s way don’t go unpunished — Ahab’s reign had been 22 years long, but his influence of religious corruption had been profound. He had built upon the foundation of the sins of Jeroboam and deepened the religious corruption by marrying a woman who was a positive evangelist for Baal. It was Ahab and his family that both Elijah and Elisha had struggled against. Pure belief in and worship of the true God had been marginalized and had withered away to near extinction. Elijah had prophesied a catastrophic and complete end to Ahab’s house (1 Kings 21:20-24), because “Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife incited him. He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the sons of Israel.” 1 Kings 21:25, 26, NAS95. And through Jehu God made it happen — in spades. Consider:
- “And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms; and the arrow went through his heart and he sank in his chariot.” 2 Kings 9:24, NAS95. And his body was thrown into Naboth’s field.
- “When Ahaziah the king of Judah [and also the son-in-law of the house of Ahab — 2 Kings 8:26) saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu pursued him and said, ‘Shoot him too, in the chariot.’ So they shot him at the ascent of Gur, which is at Ibleam. But he fled to Megiddo and died there.” 2 Kings 9:27, NAS95.
- “[Jehu] said, ‘Throw [Jezebel] down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her under foot.” … “They went to bury her, but they found nothing more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.” … “and the corpse of Jezebel will be as dung on the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, ‘This is Jezebel.’” 2 Kings 9:33, 35, 37, NAS95.
- “When the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them to him at Jezreel.” 2 Kings 10:7, NAS95.
- “So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his acquaintances and his priests, until he left him without a survivor.” 2 Kings 10:11, NAS95.
- “Then it came about, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering [to Baal], that Jehu said to the guard and to the royal officers, ‘Go in, kill [the worshippers of Baal]; let none come out.’ And they killed them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the royal officers threw them out, and went to the inner room of the house of Baal.” 2 Kings 10:25, NAS95.
All this to remind us that God’s threats of punishment are never empty ones. God took Ahab’s sin — though I’m sure there were more, we’re only told of one “moral” sin; the rest were “religious” sins — quite seriously, and He punished them severely. Religious sins seemed to have been “salvation issues” in Ahab’s case. Can we expect that deliberate religious sins would be less so today?
Marry up, not down — Both Ahab and Ahaziah married pagan women. It’s very likely that both had political reasons for their choice of brides, but whatever political advantage may have been gained were completely overshadowed by the spiritual disadvantages. Marry “up”, someone who’ll lift you spiritually — not drag you down, tempt you to do things you shouldn’t, or pull your interests and priorities away from the Lord.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.