Steve Ellison: Preserving Grace

Friday, November 15, 2019 - by Steve Ellison

The wicked King Ahab, in control of the whole country, began to covet the vineyard of a man named Naboth.  Ahab offered to purchase the vineyard, but Naboth refused the offer because it was the inheritance of his ancestors.   Ahab decided to pout, and he pouted so effectively that his wicked wife, Queen Jezebel, came to his rescue.  She hatched a plot to have innocent Naboth killed so that her spineless husband could have this thing, which was so important to Naboth, but truly insignificant to the king.  It wasn’t enough to have Naboth killed; Jezebel subjected him to the horror of being stoned to death.    

 

When Ahab found out that Naboth was dead and the vineyard was his for the taking, he lit out for the vineyard, to inspect his prize.  Rather than a prize, he found a surprise there.

Ahab was not the only one heading for this vineyard.  The word of the Lord came to Elijah, telling him to go to the vineyard and confront Ahab with these words, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Have you murdered and taken possession?’” (1 Kings 21:19 NASU)  Elijah did as he was commanded and God pronounced a terrible judgment upon Ahab and his household. Next, God pointed out to Ahab the reason for his downfall.  Ahab had sold himself to do evil.   

 

Technically, Ahab was not involved in the murderous plot, but he failed to stop it.  In fact, Ahab had set the whole thing into motion.  As surely as if he had placed himself on an auction block, Ahab had sold himself.   He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal.  You surely noted the name.  Ethbaal literally means “with Baal”; Baal being the false god, with whom the people of Israel sinned so frequently.    Ahab sold himself when he married into the family of Baal.   Ahab sold himself when he allowed Jezebel to commit all her atrocities against God and his prophets.   Ahab sold himself when he first coveted Naboth’s vineyard.  Coveting led Ahab to the point where he did nothing to stop Jezebel from committing horrific, premeditated murder, which God reckoned to Ahab’s account.  Ahab certainly sold himself when he went to take possession of the murdered man’s vineyard. 

 

Is it possible that you and I have ever followed in the footsteps of Ahab?   Surely, we have never invited evil in, to have an influence over our lives.   Surely, we have never stood idly by watching evil do its dirty deeds.  Surely, we have never allowed our desire for money, or things, or comfort, or power, or reputation to cause us to commit the sin of coveting.  Surely, we have never taken possession of something that we had no right to.  Or have we?  Certainly, we have all done many of those things.  Ahab ought to serve as a warning for us.  Also, you and I may have not gone as far as Ahab and Jezebel, but one other lesson that I have learned from reading the Bible is this:  There is no sin in the Bible, which apart from the preserving grace of God, that you and I are not capable of committing.  We may not have “murdered a man and taken possession”, but we may have murdered the truth and taken possession; we may have murdered a reputation and taken possession; we may have murdered our faith (or worse still another’s faith) and taken possession.  Given the right circumstances, we are capable of any and every thing.  Praise God for His marvelous work in keeping us from going any farther than we have in “selling ourselves to do evil”.   Daily ask God to continue covering us with such preserving grace.   May His Name be forever praised!


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