1 Kings 20:42 “He said to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says. You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.”

Observation: A prophet is speaking to Ahab king of Israel, condemning him to death for making a lucrative financial treaty with a defeated enemy and then releasing him. In response, the prophet made clear that God’s intention had been to kill Israel’s enemy but that since Ahab had released him without consulting God, Ahab’s life would be required instead, and Israel would face future defeat.

Application: Ahab’s error in this instance sprung from a habit of taking action on his own. Earlier, when Israel’s much stronger enemy had prepared to attack, God had sent a prophet (1 Kings 20:13) to convey divine strategy and assure victory.  Though Ahab had then been obedient, we should notice that he had not sought God’s counsel; it had come at God’s sovereign initiation.

Something similar happened the following spring when Ahab again mustered his army against an external threat and God graciously sent an unrequested prophet with a battle plan from on high. As if to emphasize God’s initiative this time, as the defeated army fled to a city behind the lines, God supernaturally caused a city wall to collapse on twenty-seven thousand of them.

What happens in a man’s heart to so blindly miss the obvious pattern of God’s provision? How could Ahab have received such overwhelming though unsolicited blessing on these occasions yet still not humble himself to seek God’s counsel? After his self-sufficiency had produced his own death sentence, Ahab returned “sullen and angry” to his palace, still unrepentant. (1 Kings 20:43)

What must God do to break my heart with knowledge of His goodness?

He has taken every possible initiative to make Himself known, yet I am far too often like the know-it-all teen filled with pimples and self-importance.  Despite years of wise counsel and good example from senior generations, arrogant self-confidence drives the teen to make decisions independent of consultation with those who have wisdom to share. I have far too often been like the teen, and like Ahab.     

In Christ, through the Holy Spirit, I have not just an advocate but a lover who possesses all knowledge and wisdom. He wants me to seek Him in all things, to rely upon Him more. Self confidence from the arrogance of past success holds enormous danger; surely previous demonstrations of His love should drive me deeper into His embrace.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord that You are willing to guide in every area of my life.  Make me wise to seek Your face in all things.