Wednesday, August 10, 2022

2022.08.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 21:17–29

Read 1 Kings 21:17–29

Questions from the Scripture text: What came to whom in 1 Kings 21:17? Whom was he to meet in what city (1 Kings 21:18)? What specific place? Why is he there? What is Elijah to do there (1 Kings 21:19)? How is he to introduce his question? What question? How is he to introduce his announcement? What announcement? How does Ahab address Elijah (1 Kings 21:20)? What does he ask? Why does Elijah say he has found him? What three things will the Lord do to him in 1 Kings 21:21? Like he has done to whom (1 Kings 21:22)? Whom has Ahab provoked? What has he made Israel to do? About whom else does Elijah speak (1 Kings 21:23)? What will happen to her where? What will Ahab’s household get instead of burials (1 Kings 21:24)? In what was Ahab peerless (1 Kings 21:25)? How did he get this way? What, specifically, did he do (1 Kings 21:26)? Like whom? And what had LORD done to them? How does Ahab respond (1 Kings 21:27)? Now what comes to Elijah in 1 Kings 21:28? What does He tell Elijah to behold (1 Kings 21:29)? What will the LORD do as a result?

To how wicked a man can the Lord show mercy, and how? 1 Kings 21:17–29 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that as great as Ahab’s sin and guilt wrath are, God’s mercy is even greater and comes via His Word.

Based upon Elijah’s convicting him of murder and theft (1 Kings 21:19a) and sentencing him to death for it (verse 19b), Ahab calls Elijah his enemy. Here, he makes two mistakes. First, it is the LORD of Whom Ahab has made an enemy. “Thus says the LORD” … “thus says the LORD”… it is the LORD Who is Ahab’s enemy! Second, this confronting is not an act of enmity to Ahab. In fact, through this confrontation, the Lord gives Ahab the repentance that makes him the only one from his household who is going to escape.

The wickedness of Ahab puts him on a sort of Mount Rushmore of evil. Jeroboam son of Nebat (1 Kings 21:22a, cf. 1 Kings 14:7–16), Baasha son of Ahijah (1 Kings 21:22b, cf. 1 Kings 16:1–4), the Amorites (1 Kings 21:26, cf. Genesis 15:16, Leviticus 18:24–30), and now Ahab. Indeed, 1 Kings 21:25 implies that he was the worst. This is a warning about marrying poorly. Wicked wives turned Solomon’s heart (1 Kings 11:1–13). The sinful influence of his wife was one reason Satan left her with Job (cf. Job 2:9). Now 1 Kings 21:25 of our text tells us that Ahab reached the pinnacle of wickedness by his wife’s stirring him up.

But behold the greatness of God’s grace! The response in 1 Kings 21:27 is profoundly different from the one in 1 Kings 20:43. Now the Word of the LORD comes to Elijah again, but this time it’s for Elijah! The command in 1 Kings 21:29 is to “see.” It’s not even the common word for ‘behold’ but an actual command to “see.” What is he to see? That the word of the Lord on his own lips was used to produce humility in Ahab, rather than to harden him in his rebellion.

The great grace in this passage is not so much the postponement of the calamity in verse 29 as it is the repentance in 1 Kings 21:27. What an encouragement to the prophet who had been so discouraged not too long ago: the Word of the Lord in his mouth is so powerful an agent of such mercy that it produced repentance even in Ahab!

Of Whom does sin make you an enemy? How dangerous is marrying poorly? To Whom can God give repentance? What is His appointed way of doing that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, how dreadful a thing sin is, in that it is enmity toward You! But, how great is Your mercy toward us that You grant repentance through Your Word. Forgive us for taking too lightly both the badness of sin and the goodness of Your Word and Your mercy. Use that Word to humble us before You, and for the sake of Christ’s righteousness and sacrifice, spare us from the wrath that we had deserved!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH32B “How Blessed Is He Whose Trespass”

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