Tuesday, November 1st. 1 Kings 21:1-4

Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. And Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.” Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, “I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat. 1 Kings 21:1-4


King Ahab and his wife Jezebel are two of the most notorious bad guys in the Bible.  Think of them as a “demonic duo”.  Name it and they did it – break the laws of Israel, battle against the prophets sent by God, worship idols like Baal and, in the text for today, teamed up to murder a good man for the sole purpose of stealing his ancestral property so they could have a vegetable garden closer to their palace.


Read 1 Kings 21:1-28 to see how Jezebel plots Naboth’s death.


We don’t spend much time listening to stories like this one.  There are probably lots of reasons for that.  They don’t offer much in the way of encouragement.  They don’t directly reveal Jesus.  Sometimes they cast God in a very different light than we are used to.  Often they reveal more about inter-tribal politics (which can be historically interesting) but they don’t seem spiritually helpful.


On the other hand…


We look at the world around us today and we see ample evidence of political leaders who abuse their office to the detriment of their people and the diminishment of the human community.  We’ve watched leaders fall in places like Egypt and Libya and we’ve learned new information about the depth of political corruption and outright theft that have characterized their death grip on the lives of their people.


Last week I finished reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor before and during World War II.  Bonhoeffer was one of the leaders of the Confessing Church which was a protest movement against the established church’s eager support, and even theological justification for, the rise of National Socialism and the power invested in the leadership of Adolph Hitler.


Eventually he was arrested, imprisoned and – just two weeks before the camp he ended up in what liberated by the Allies – killed for his participation in the conspiracy to kill Hitler. 


That story is a chilling reminder of how easy it is for the goodness of God to be co-opted by the power of evil.  Ahab and Jezebel stand in a long line of people who want what they want, have the power and opportunity to get it, and nothing will stand in their way.  Over against such power stands the will of God and the willingness of God’s people to speak out, to resist, to protest, and to suffer.


As the saying goes, ” The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”


Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, you continue to create a good earth, full of all that is necessary for life.  And yet we soil life with disobedience and disorder.  So this morning we pray for those in positions of power and authority, that they use that power for the good of all rather than resort to evil out of selfishness, ambition, and fear.  May your good and gracious will prevail and may that will be our guide in life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


One Response to “Tuesday, November 1st. 1 Kings 21:1-4”

  1. Randy Nelson Says:

    “how easy it is for the goodness of God to be co-opted by the power of evil.” Yes. The goodness of God is beyond the understanding of mortals. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, thanks to the internet, has quotes & passages on many web sites. Anyone can purchase his writings. God is good.

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