“So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?”
And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: ‘Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free.” 1 Kings 21:20-21 NKJV
What a powerful weekend reading and continuing today – Why do my favorites always fall on weekends when God doesn’t have me write a devotional to go with it?! God is pouring out his power and anointing just like in the days of Elijah! So pay attention to this man’s life and the lives of His contemporaries!
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is from the book of First Kings chapters 20-21 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).
In today’s reading is the opening verse. Ahab sees Elijah and I am sure he didn’t just say – oh man, you found me! I am sure there was an expletive or two!! Reminds me of another evil force and its reaction when found:
“And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Matthew 8:29 NKJV
Is there an implication here that Ahab was possessed? No – the Bible is pretty clear that he was controlled by His wife and it is quite possible she was possessed. Regardless of your opinion on it – there are very clear parallels between these verses so I think I might explore further, if you will humor me. Sometimes I wander a little, but I do get there eventually.
Elijah was recognized – and he was an anointed force. Jesus was recognized and was the messiah. Can we wander far and talk about the seven sons of Sceva?
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” Acts 19:13-16 NKJV
The sons of Sceva were not known.
Some say they failed because they tried to use Jesus’s name as a magic trick – some (maybe closer to the truth) point out they refer to a Jesus once removed – not Jesus himself but of Paul. But how about this (and thank you for humoring me while I wander) – they saw it done and lacked understanding about having a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. Maybe that desired a form of godliness but denied the true power thereof.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7 NKJV
As a preacher I know named Marcus always says: casual Christians will become casualties!
So, imagine that, like these seven brothers, we are casual Christians and we find ourselves up against a demon and the demon puts our back against the wall and we know we can cast it out because we have been given power (Luke 10:19) – so in fear we try to cast it out…. or in zealousness for this power, as some believed to be the case with these brothers, we step out in faith to cast it out. We fail and get our butts handed to us!
I met a young man who said – it is written that I can fight it and God will win because God is stronger and he stepped out and was overcome. He said he doesn’t want to do that again. So maybe these brothers were like him, too young in their relationship with God.
Honestly – it doesn’t matter if you were born in the USA or in China, you were born where you were born and you have NO control over it. You have no control over the color of your skin. You have no control over the fact that there is a spiritual war if you like it or not. Jesus says that whoever is not against us is for us:
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” Mark 9:38-41 NIV
So you are in this regardless and you are either fighting for God or for the enemy. Choose.
Do you have a form of godliness but deny its power – get to know God better and make sure the enemy knows your name. Either the enemy will destroy you – or you will help take him down saving other in the process. Wake up. We are running out of time.
Tell God you want a relationship – you want to be closer to him – you want to fulfill your purpose! Just get hungry for God and He’ll take you through the rest. There is nothing to fear when you are deep in your relationship and engulf in His presence.
Put down the fear, put down the nuances of denominations, let go of the chains of legalism and get bathed in grace – the kind of grace that rose Jesus from the grave, overcame the enemy and death and transforms us into God’s glory! OOOO!!! Reading about Elijah always gets me hungry! I serve a real living God – I know in whom I believe and He is able – He has overcome and He is almighty and powerful! The enemy knows my name! Because when I get to know my God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – I become known.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: Mark 16:17-18 – This month is month two of the two for one special!!!
NKJV – “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NAS – “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
ESV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NLT – “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
NIV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 20-21 NKJV
Ahab Defeats the Syrians
20 Now Ben-Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his forces together; thirty-two kings were with him, with horses and chariots. And he went up and besieged Samaria, and made war against it. 2 Then he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, “Thus says Ben-Hadad: 3 ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your loveliest wives and children are mine.’ ”
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, “My lord, O king, just as you say, I and all that I have are yours.”
5 Then the messengers came back and said, “Thus speaks Ben-Hadad, saying, ‘Indeed I have sent to you, saying, “You shall deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children”; 6 but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants. And it shall be, that whatever is [a]pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hands and take it.’ ”
7 So the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, “Notice, please, and see how this man seeks trouble, for he sent to me for my wives, my children, my silver, and my gold; and I did not deny him.”
8 And all the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen or consent.”
9 Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant the first time I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’ ”
And the messengers departed and brought back word to him.
10 Then Ben-Hadad sent to him and said, “The gods do so to me, and more also, if enough dust is left of Samaria for a handful for each of the people [b]who follow me.”
11 So the king of Israel answered and said, “Tell him, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.’ ”
12 And it happened when Ben-Hadad heard this message, as he and the kings were drinking at the [c]command post, that he said to his servants, “Get ready.” And they got ready to attack the city.
13 Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”
14 So Ahab said, “By whom?”
And he said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘By the young leaders of the provinces.’ ”
Then he said, “Who will set the battle in order?”
And he answered, “You.”
15 Then he mustered the young leaders of the provinces, and there were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people, all the children of Israel—seven thousand.
16 So they went out at noon. Meanwhile Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two kings helping him were getting drunk at the command post. 17 The young leaders of the provinces went out first. And Ben-Hadad sent out a patrol, and they told him, saying, “Men are coming out of Samaria!” 18 So he said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; and if they have come out for war, take them alive.”
19 Then these young leaders of the provinces went out of the city with the army which followed them. 20 And each one killed his man; so the Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them; and Ben-Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with the cavalry. 21 Then the king of Israel went out and attacked the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.
22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for [d]in the spring of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.”
The Syrians Again Defeated
23 Then the servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 So do this thing: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put captains in their [e]places; 25 and you shall muster an army like the army [f]that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger than they.”
And he listened to their voice and did so.
26 So it was, in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 And the children of Israel were mustered and given provisions, and they went against them. Now the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside.
28 Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ” 29 And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day. 30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left.
And Ben-Hadad fled and went into the city, into an inner chamber.
Ahab’s Treaty with Ben-Hadad
31 Then his servants said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please, let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.” 32 So they wore sackcloth around their waists and put ropes around their heads, and came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’ ”
And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”
33 Now the men were watching closely to see whether any sign of mercy would come from him; and they quickly grasped at this word and said, “Your brother Ben-Hadad.”
So he said, “Go, bring him.” Then Ben-Hadad came out to him; and he had him come up into the chariot.
34 So Ben-Hadad said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may set up marketplaces for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”
Then Ahab said, “I will send you away with this treaty.” So he made a treaty with him and sent him away.
35 Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor by the word of the Lord, “Strike me, please.” And the man refused to strike him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, surely, as soon as you depart from me, a lion shall kill you.” And as soon as he left him, a lion found him and killed him.
37 And he found another man, and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him, inflicting a wound. 38 Then the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39 Now as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall [g]pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”
Then the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.”
41 And he hastened to take the bandage away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 Then he said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’ ”
43 So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and displeased, and came to Samaria.
Naboth Is Murdered for His Vineyard
21 And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.”
3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!”
4 So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?”
6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ”
7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
8 And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying,
Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth [h]with high honor among the people; 10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.
11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people. 13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”
15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
The Lord Condemns Ahab
17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19 You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” ’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” ’ ”
20 So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?”
And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: 21 ‘Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. 22 I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.’ 23 And concerning Jezebel the Lord also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the [i]wall of Jezreel.’ 24 The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.”
25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife [j]stirred him up. 26 And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
27 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.
28 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”
- 1 Kings 20:6 pleasing
- 1 Kings 20:10 Lit. at my feet
- 1 Kings 20:12 Lit. booths or shelters
- 1 Kings 20:22 Lit. at the return
- 1 Kings 20:24 positions
- 1 Kings 20:25 Lit. that fell from you
- 1 Kings 20:39 Lit. weigh
- 1 Kings 21:9 Lit. at the head
- 1 Kings 21:23 So with MT, LXX; some Heb. mss., Syr., Tg., Vg. plot of ground instead of wall (cf. 2 Kin. 9:36)
- 1 Kings 21:25 incited him