Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am positively persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed to Him until that day.”
II Timothy 1: 12
“Personal acquaintance with Christ is a living thing. Like a tree that uses every hour for growth, it thrives in sunshine, it is refreshed by rain -- even the storm drives it to fasten its grip more firmly in the earth for its support. So, troubled heart, in all experience, say, ‘This comes that I may make closer acquaintance with my Lord.”
D. L. Moody
Today’s Study Text:
“So she (Jezebel) wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal and sent them to the elders and nobles who dwelt with Naboth in his city. And in the letters she said, ‘Proclaim a fast and set Naboth up high among the people. And set two men, base fellows, before him, and let them bear witness against him, saying, you cursed and renounced God and the king. Then carry him out and stone him to death.’ And the men of his city, the elders and nobles who dwelt there, did as Jezebel had directed in the letters sent to them. They proclaimed a fast and set Naboth on high among the people. Two base fellows came in and sat opposite him and they charged Naboth before the people, saying, ‘Naboth cursed and renounced God and the king.’ Then he was carried out of the city and stoned to death. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, ‘Naboth has been stoned and is dead.’ Then Jezebel said to Ahab, ‘Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you, for Naboth is not alive, but dead.’”
1 Kings 21: 8-15
“The Attack by Jezebel” Part 2
“We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.”
F. W. Bareham
Have I ever attached myself to someone who by their influence over me, dragged me into behavior I previously thought impossible to succumb to?
How was Jezebel able to convince individuals to take the action of murdering an innocent man?
“The man (or woman) who lives by himself (herself) and for himself (herself) is apt to be corrupted by the company he (she) keeps.”
Charles Henry Parkhurst
“And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may reverently fear Me forever for the good of themselves and of their children after them.”
Jeremiah 32: 39
It has been said that how you act speaks so loudly, no one can actually hear a thing you say. If ever this fact was brought out into the light, it is in our study text for today.
Remember, when Jezebel prepared for battle, she first set her sights on going after the mind of her victims, be they the “wavering” children of Israel or her spineless husband, Ahab. As we learned yesterday, by appealing to Ahab’s arrogance and with profuse flattery, she lured her husband into a trap where she could hold ultimate sway by controlling the actions which followed the thoughts already planted in the mind.
By telling Ahab that he was king and could have his way at any cost, she soon found herself in a position to carry out her well-crafted scheme.
And what did Ahab do? He followed along like a little dog on a leash -- trotting behind its master.
Author and pastor Charles Swindoll, in his book entitled, Elijah, gives us this summary of Jezebel’s action-plan:
“(Jezebel’s) husband is under stress and pressure…so Jezebel takes over and acts in the flesh…she is a godless woman who lives her life in the carnality of self-satisfying desires. Her advice reflects that ‘I’ll take care of this for you…just get out of my way’…Jezebel has no authority to write letters in the king’s name. But that is not her worst offense. In writing these letters, she sets in motion a plot to kill Naboth. In today’s terms, she ‘frames’ the helpless man. But she makes it appear that she is following the letter of the law.”
Do you recall what we uncovered about Jezebel yesterday? First, she goes to the mind, playing with your head until you are in the position to do anything she asks or to follow her by mirroring her own erroneous behavior. In fact, she will even go so far as to make her behavior appear lawful.
Pastor Swindoll, notably calls to our attention, not only did Jezebel find two ‘scoundrels’ (N.I.V.) to falsely claim that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king, but she was able, by her words and behavior, to convince the “elders and nobles” of Jezreel to follow her lead. I find this despicable behavior since there are two times in our study text, when Jezreel is referred to in a most personal way regarding Naboth for it is called,” his city.” This was his home. It was where the land that had been passed down through his family was located. It is quite likely that the “nobles and elders” referred to in our study text were his friends, people he knew. And yet, under the thought control of Jezebel, they modified their behavior to meet her demands. This is the length Jezebel would go to get her way. And somewhere off within the palace walls, the weak-kneed Ahab, let Jezebel do the dirty-work, over and over again. Whether it was threatening Elijah’s life or murdering all the prophets of God she possibly could, Jezebel was able to get the people of Israel to fall for anything she proposed until one day, even the leaders of the city of Jezreel were willing to throw stones at one of their own until they had killed them. This is why the Apostle Paul, in words of warning found in 1 Thessalonians 5: 22 states: “Avoid every kind of evil.” Stay away from Jezebel would be Paul’s advice.
Author William J. Petersen offers this very clear picture of the story of Naboth’s vineyard. “All the fuss over a vineyard? Why in the world would the Lord want to make a federal case out of that? After all, Ahab wasn’t going to turn it into a brothel or a temple of Baal. He was merely going to change it into a little herb garden, or as the newer translations put it, a vegetable garden. What does God have against vegetable gardens? Nothing at all. But even good things can be corrupted by doing them in evil ways. The end does not justify the means.”
E. M. Blaiklock from New Zealand observes that, “We can have what we want at a price.” He then continues with these profound words, “Sin is desiring good things selfishly, with no thought for another, at the wrong time, at the wrong place, and in defiance of God’s law.” This is the Jezebel blueprint for behavior. Getting what you want, when you want it, with no thought whatsoever about who you hurt in your pursuit of your selfish desires. Even if Naboth had to die, he was nothing but collateral damage in Jezebel’s world.
Lest you and I, as Christians, get a little smug and think we can’t fall for Jezebel’s ploy, I’d like to share these words by Richard Phillips, Phillip Ryken and Mark Dever:
“More often people who claim to be Christian pursue the same selfish ambitions, worship the same worthless idols, enjoy the same sinful pleasures, watch the same ungodly entertainments, and grasp for the same greedy possessions as everyone else.”
Not a one of us is immune to Jezebel’s desire to entrap her victims for your demise and mine is her ultimate goal.
I love the words from the Apostle James. I call them the battle gear necessary when Jezebel attacks: “So be subject to God. Resist the devil, stand firm against him, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you” (James 4: 7, 8, Amplified Bible).
When Jezebel attacks your mind -- flee. When she tries to get you to follow her behavior -- flee. And we are promised that when we flee, God will be right there beside us, all the way to victory.
“Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn’t judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our behavior.”
“God, let me put right before interest,
Let me put others before self,
Let me put the things of the spirit
before the things of the body.
Let me put the attainment of noble ends
above the enjoyment of present pleasures.
Let me put principle above reputation.
Let me put Thee before all else.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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