Strange Mercy

Have you ever wondered why new parents skip right over “Ahab” in their search for baby names?  There’s a reason his name isn’t in the top 10!

What a brat.  Yesterday I read about Ahab’s adult tantrum over his neighbor Naboth’s vineyard.  Curled up on his bed, his face to the wall, refusing to eat, he whimpers “Naboth won’t give me his vineyard.  He won’t trade me. He won’t even sell it to me!”

“Oh, Sweetie, don’t you worry,  I’LL give it to you, Hon'”  So Jezebel sets him (Naboth) up, brings in false witnesses, and Naboth is falsely accused, convicted and executed by stoning for something he didn’t do — all  so Jezebel’s Dear Hubby could have his little vineyard.  The details are in 1 Kings 21 if you haven’t been there recently.

Can you spell “spoiled” with four letters?  How about  A H A B

God was not pleased.  Not at all.  He sent Elijah to Ahab with a message.  “You have provoked me to anger.” I wonder if God wanted to call him “chump” or something … or if that’s just something I’d do. “In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood — yes, yours! . . . Jezebel too. By the wall of Jezreel.”  In addition  Elijah let him know there would be no surviving male descendants from Ahab & Jezebel.  “Disaster is coming, Pal, this is the end of your family name.  You are being yanked from the gene pool, Ahab.  Finito.”

Ahab repented and put on sackcloth (the outward expression of repentance and remorse).  He fasted.   He went around meekly  (1 Kings 21.27).

This morning I noticed God’s response to Ahab’s actions and am mulling it over as I go about today’s tasks.  It’s in verse 29:

“Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me?  Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

It sounds like God said “Not now, later.”  Instead of you being the end of the line and disaster coming to your family, we’ll let it conclude in the next generation. Your son will be the last.  Ahab’s repentance delayed God’s sentence, in a way. Deferred judgment.  I’d call that mercy, wouldn’t you?  Strange mercy, but mercy nonetheless.

Something to think about . . .

One Reply to “Strange Mercy”

  1. Phil

    In his book “Elijah” Charles Swindoll refers to this story as being when God “has had enough”.

    I’m so thankful He is a longsuffering God. Even so, to have him say “this is the end of your family line” took a lot. It was Ahab’s marrying into sin and living there that eventually took him out.

    If you’re “out there” spiritually speaking, come back. The Father is waiting for you to turn your face toward home. He’s watching for your silhouette on the horizon. Hurry!

    (More details in Luke 15)


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