Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev20031005.htm
1 AND 2 KINGS: ENJOYING GOD'S BLESSINGS IN AN APOSTATE ERA
Part XXVI: Blessing In STEADFASTLY Countering Those God Leads Us To Counter
(1 Kings 20:1-43)
Lesson: As a man was slain by a lion for not heeding God's will to injure the prophet against this man's natural human reservations to do so, as the man in the prophet's illustration was judged for not keeping his prisoner because he had understandable human compassion on him and let him go, so Ahab was judged for giving in to his human tendency to be cooperative and not remaining intolerant of Ben-hadad so as to kill him when God had clearly, repeatedly signaled Ahab kill Ben-hadad.
- We as people are social beings, so our natural human tendency is to cooperate with other people.
- However, in holiness, God sometimes leads us to counter certain sinners against our cooperative tendency.
- Yet, to enjoy God's blessing, we must steadfastly counter those God clearly and repeatedly leads us to counter, a lesson that is taught in a powerful way in 1 Kings 20:1-43 as follows:
- Blessing In STEADFASTLY Countering Those God Leads Us To Counter.
- We know from 1 Kings 20:42b that God intended for Ahab to kill wicked king Ben-hadad of Syria.
- In accord with this divine purpose, the Lord arranged for clear and repeated signals to come Ahab's way so that he would understand that God wanted him to stay resolved to kill Ben-hadad (as follows):
- First, through obviously malicious and aggravating actions, Ben-hadad himself made it clear to Ahab and his royal advisors that Ben-hadad had to be countered by Ahab in battle, 1 Kings 20:1-8.
- Second, Ahab stood up to Ben-hadad's challenge, so the two kings went to war, 1 Kings 20:9-12.
- Third, a prophet of God encouraged Ahab and guided him on how to defeat Ben-hadad in a battle plan that soundly worked to route Ben-hadad in the conflict, 1 Kings 20:13-21.
- Fourth, this godly prophet assured Ahab he would have to fight Ben-hadad again, meaning Ahab should start to build up his army for his next conflict with Ben-hadad, 1 Kings 20:22.
- Fifth, when this prediction came true and Ben-hadad tried to attack Ahab on a plain with a large force, a prophet of God encouraged Ahab to fight and defeat Ben-hadad in this second battle, 20:23-28.
- Thus, when Ahab heeded this godly prophet's words, Ahab's army again soundly defeated the Syrians, leaving Ben-hadad fleeing for his life and being vulnerably exposed to Ahab's power, 20:29-30.
- However, instead of destroying Ben-hadad when he had been delivered by God's obvious and repeated leading into Ahab's hand, Ahab spared Ben-hadad's life, 1 Kings 20:31-34, 42b.
- Thus, God used a powerfully prepared object lesson to teach Ahab's failure to stand firm against Ben-hadad in accord with God's clear, repeated signals would lead to Ahab's loss of blessing, 20:35-43:
- The Lord arranged for a prophet to ask a man to injure this prophet in the face so the prophet could meet with Ahab and supply the king a necessary object lesson, cf. 1 Kings 20:35a with 20:38.
- However, when the prophet asked the first man to strike and thus injure him, the man refused to harm the prophet, so that man was judged by God to be slain by a lion, 1 Kings 20:35b-36!
- The second man the prophet asked to injure him obeyed, injuring God's prophet in an obedient move that undoubtedly saved him from God's judgment [of death by a lion], 1 Kings 20:37.
- Accordingly, the injured prophet disguised himself with ashes on his face along with his injury to make himself appear to have been involved in the recent battle, and set out to meet Ahab, 1 Kings 20:38.
- The prophet met Ahab, and claimed he had failed to keep a prisoner of war under pain of death, 20:39.
- Ahab replied this man was indeed destined to die in accord with the code of ethics in war, 20:40.
- Hearing Ahab's words, the prophet removed his disguise so Ahab could see he was God's prophet and announced Ahab had condemned himself: as the man in his enactment had failed to keep the prisoner in his charge, Ahab had failed to kill Ben-hadad whom God had given into his hand, 20:41-42b. Thus, in judgment, Ahab and his people would die in place of Ben-hadad and his people, 1 Kings 20:42c-43.
Application: If an evil party's own actions, if godly counsel and if circumstances clearly, repeatedly signal God wants us to KEEP a stand AGAINST an evil party, though it may run opposite our usual human bent to do so, GOD expects us to KEEP our OPPOSING STAND or lose out on His blessing!