A Twist Ending

(Today's post by Chris Queen)

1 Kings 21

1 Kings 21 includes a twist ending – one that M. Night Shyamalan would be jealous of if he read the Bible.

Are you familiar with the concept of eminent domain? A government entity tries to buy a piece of property for a highway, or a new building complex, or a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons, and the owner won’t sell, so the government entity uses its power to force the owner off the land and take it over. This is what Ahab and Jezebel do, in an extreme way, in 1 Kings 21.

King Ahab decides he wants Naboth’s vineyard, because it will make the perfect vegetable garden for the royal family. He actually makes a generous offer to Naboth, but the landowner refuses for sentimental reasons.

Ahab goes home and pouts on his bed without eating supper. Jezebel asks him what’s wrong, and he tells her. She gets all “be a man” on Ahab and tells him she’ll take care of it.

Jezebel gins up false charges against Naboth and has him killed so that Ahab can take over the vineyard. But guess what? The Lord knows, and He won’t let Ahab get off so easily:

17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lordsays: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’ ”

20Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free.22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’

24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

When Elijah breaks the news to Ahab, he reacts humbly, tearing his clothes, and moping around in horror and sorrow at his fate.

The twist ending? The Lord extends a bit of grace to Ahab.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 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.”

You know, we’re a lot like Ahab. Ok, so you and I aren’t running around seizing vineyards and killing innocent people, but we’re like Ahab because we’re recipients of grace. We don’t get what we deserve as a result of our sins, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The takeaway from this odd story with a twist ending – be grateful for the grace you’ve been given. Show that gratefulness to your Savior today.

 

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