We do have to stop and talk about covetness here because it simply means I want something I'm not supposed to have because it belongs to someone else.
You can say I like that truck, I'd like one like it, but you cannot say I'll take yours. We are in 1 Kings 21, almost at the end of 1 Kings, but really it's 1 and 2 Kings of one book that only divided because the scroll would be just too big to carry around. So they split them into 1 and 2 Kings as with Chronicles and Samuel. We will get to the death of King Ahab and surprisingly it's not by a whale. We'll probably have to take that in two sections. The sermon or message study tonight all together is entitled Neighbors from Hell and I'm not trying to be a wise guy, but literally speaking, royal neighbors from hell, we could add that, you know, location, location, location, but that is based on the neighbors too. Chronologically, this 21st chapter really should be chapter 20. We discussed that a little bit last session. If you follow the order of events, then they seem out of place.
It's nothing, not a big deal, but it flows much better that way, but I was not consulted, so you cannot blame me. What we have on exhibition here, one exhibition in this chapter is the grace of God, one of the best topics in all the Bible, and this grace of God is made available to the worst of people and Ahab is one of them. Also on display is God's complete disgust with somebody who is completely disgusting and that would be Jezebel and it is a tragic mistake for a human being to presume that God is all bark and no bite and that is also what is coming out of this chapter. Already established from the previous chapters is that this king Ahab is a fool. Spiritually, he is a fool. As a king, he's not that bad, but as a person before God, he's out of his mind and that comes out again in this chapter. And we get to see how petty he is in addition to his wickedness. There are other characters in Scripture that are wicked and they're not petty, but he's both. Verse 1, and it came to pass after these things that Naboth, the Jezreelite, had a vineyard which was in Jezreel next to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria.
So they're neighbors. This man Naboth is a neighbor to the king in Samaria. This is in Jezreel, he's the king of Samaria. Jezreel is where Ahab built his winter retreat, his winter home and that's what he's doing there, enjoying his winter and covetousness is going to be part of the story.
So he's about 25 miles from his main dwelling place in Samaria. Verse 2, so Ahab spoke to Naboth saying, Give me your vineyard that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near next to my house. And for it I will give you a vineyard better than it.
Or if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money. Well under the law, even the Jewish kings could not confiscate land from the Jewish people, which is kind of surprising because he's not going to confiscate the land. King Ahab, it's not his right. So you find them obeying some of God's word and trampling other parts of God's word. Surprised it happens in Christianity, does it not? We find people that say, I'm a Christian and they just trample the commandments of God. As though it's, you know, God's looking the other way or he's dumb or something. I don't know what their illogic is, but I do know it still takes place and we all should guard against it.
If you come across a brother or a sister who is caught up in this and God gives the opportunity, you who are spiritual restore such a one and hopefully they will submit and not double down on the insanity. Anyway, as I mentioned, he's going to honor this law, flagrantly violate other laws. That's why it does not end well for him. Jezebel, however, is a Sidonian princess. They know no such law, eminent domain. For them, they will just take what they want and she will bring her Sidonian ways into the Jewish kingdom. This corruption and everything goes bad after that for Naboth. This desiring for the field for his vegetable garden brings to mind Cain, tiller of the ground.
I don't know that there's a lot there. It just came to mind while I was reading this. You know, I like vegetables much as the next guy, but I'm not willing to kill somebody deemed more righteous than I. To get my way, verse 3, but Naboth said to Abahab, Yahweh forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you. Now, there's no indication here that he's being sassy, not to someone like you.
I mean, he could be, but there's no indication, no need to read that in. He's just saying, God forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you. You're not part of my tribe. You're not part of my clan and it is in the law. It's God's land and I could lease it to you, which I'm not willing to do.
And even if I did lease it to you, it would have to come back to me by the time of the Jubilee celebration. So he's exercising his legal right. It will cost him his life. So we have this noble man versus a pathetic man, such as the case in life. Using the covenant name of Yahweh, Naboth saying Yahweh, God forbid that, Yahweh forbid. Naboth likely a more righteous man than they have, telling him land's not for sale, and neither am I. It says here again in verse 3, God forbid, the Lord Yahweh forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you. And you can reference that in Leviticus 25 and Numbers 36. Restraints of God's law are often irksome, if not flat out offensive, to a heathen and to an apostate. We see this now, you know, people threatening to come to churches and strip nude because they're upholding the sanctity of life and the unborn. And this is, you know, the wicked, there is no shame, said Zephaniah the prophet. They have no conscience that God will honor because they will not honor God.
And these restraints that God puts on them, they don't care for. I go over in my head, what would I do if someone were sitting in this front row and started stripping in the middle of the service? I would consider that a physical assault on our youth, and I wouldn't want to be that guy. That's all I'm saying. It's not a threat.
I'm just saying. You know, there are some damages that we can avoid, and sometimes you just have to, anyway, I'm not promoting violence at all. Christians are not supposed to be violent. We trust God to protect us and keep them away. Coming back to this, the apostate will shove aside God's law to make room for their idolatrous practices, and that is what is happening here. It's happening in churches that's saying, hey, you know, we're going to start ordaining homosexuals into, I mean, you're just, you've certainly just turned your back on God with such a move.
And it would be the same thing if you, you know, let's start ordaining serial killers. Verse 4, so Ahab went into the house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth, the Jezreelite, had spoken to him, for he had said, I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers. And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. See what I mean, how petty he is?
I mean, it just, this is pathetic. He's the king. And this is, you know, this land he must have. It's not right. Where is it written he gets anything he wants?
This is covetousness. This is the same spoiled evil spirit that was found in Amnon. You remember, I have to have my step-sister, and you know how evil Amnon was in 2 Kings 13, same spirit. And so, he's beyond childish, and he is seen as childish, but don't worry, Jezebel is lurking. She hates everyone that serves Yahweh. Again, how that faithful servant Obadiah survived, I don't know.
But we know who this human being Jezebel is. Some serious stuff going on here for Naboth. Told no by a common subject. No, you can't have the land.
And that's one of the hardest words in the English language, is it not to hear. No. Someone comes visiting the church and they want to come in the sanctuary with a sandwich, no.
No. You guys are so uptight. You're about to get a lot more uptight if you don't get out of here with that sandwich. So this baby Huey character that we have here, the only difference is this one's not harmless, verse 5. But Jezebel, his wife, came to him and said to him, why is your spirit so sullen and you eat no food?
Why so glum, chum? She was being manipulated, I believe, by Ahab. I think he was, you know, he knew, I think they loved each other with a human love. Because he gets bummed out after he really, down after he hears about the judgment coming her way at the end of the chapter. But I wouldn't put it beyond this man to be manipulative, and she delightfully so. He would get her to do his dirty work.
That could be part of this, of what's going on here. Verse 6, he said to her, because I spoke to Naboth, the Jezreelite, and said to him, give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it. And he answered, I will not give you my vineyard.
Who are you? By our standards, in our society, this is crazy, but these two, they don't see themselves as the problem. Now, Ahab does not mention the reason why Naboth refuses to sell.
It really doesn't matter. It meant nothing to Ahab, and it will mean nothing to Jezebel. But we do have to stop and talk about covetness here. Because it simply means, I want something I'm not supposed to have, because it belongs to someone else. Exodus 20, verse 17, you shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's. So if your neighbor pulls up with a nice truck, you can say, I like that truck, I'd like one like it.
But you cannot say, I'll take yours. And this is something that I think we miss, because the word covetness does not alarm the human heart as much as some other words do. We hear it and we sort of write it off to your theological topic. We brush it aside when we hear it.
Do you blush when you hear the word covet? Thou shalt not covet, you shall not want what belongs to someone else. It is the deadliest of all deadly sins. It is of the Ten Commandments, the one that focuses on the inward, not the outward.
All the other ones are really external. The table of the law, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, bear false witness, covet. That's inside the heart. And as we will see in this section, it leads to lying, to murder, to stealing, and uses God's law to do it. So it is a big deal of the Ten Commandments.
This is the one, I think, that we all have broken. It is the one that Paul the Apostle feared, Romans chapter 7. I would not have known sin except through the law, for I would not have known covetness unless the law had said, you shall not covet. This is the first known sin in the Bible. Lucifer coveted the authority and the throne of God. I will be like the Most High, I will exalt my stars, and on and on it went, and that turned that archangel into the devil himself. In verse 7, then Jezebel his wife said to him, you now exercise authority over Israel. Israel, arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. You see, the thing about this is he offers no, well how, or what are you going to do?
He doesn't want to know. He just wants that land. And using her to do it is just right for the both of them. She enjoys killing the Jewish people, and he enjoys having what he wants, no matter what. And she understood the wicked possibilities of power. And without morals, it just goes to another level that Satan wants it to go to. And earth has never lacked these type of people in government. There is an infestation of people who are drunk with power and wicked at the same time.
Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful. Without conscience, everything, everything against somebody else is fair if it's good for you. That's the way Jezebel thought. And her course of action seems automatic, without hesitation. She doesn't have to think about this.
Why are you standing? What? You're kidding me.
Cheer up. I'll fix this. She doesn't miss a beat. I referenced Zephaniah earlier. Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah, and he writes, Yahweh is righteous in her midst. He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning he brings his justice to light.
He never fails. But the unjust, or the wicked, knows no shame. They're just not embarrassed, doesn't faze them.
You know, I don't know, in the nudist colonies, there's no shame there. You know, they might be otherwise relatively nice people, but there's a disconnect that God pronounces on these behaviors. And anyway, she doesn't ask, Why won't he sell it to you?
Tell me that again. This is verse 8 now that we come to. And she wrote letters in Ahab's name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. Well, she's permitted to forge it. After all, he's going to get what he wants.
He's going to be so happy when he gets it. No shame, no guilt, no pity, no goodness. But there is a judgment. Where is the soul of Jezebel at this very moment?
The same place as Judas Iscariot. Proverbs 6, verse 18. A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil.
And that's her. So she's used the king's authority, his seal, to bully the village people to do what she wants. And what she wants is Naboth's death. Eternal torment is not something anyone will recover from. And, you know, a person can tell themselves whatever they want. There's a date with death and there's a date with judgment.
And it's too late for her. The name Jezebel has made its way into the dictionary. Reading from the dictionary, one of them, the one I like. Jezebel, an evil, shameless woman.
To call a woman a Jezebel is to put her on the lowest level of society. Well, of course, you've got Amnon. How come his name didn't make it?
Because he is just as foul. But anyway, it's not a gender war. Satan would love it to be. There are evil people.
I mean, if you wanted equal time, then you'd have to make Satan a female just to make sure to make them happy. See the senselessness of that? It's like, we demand it. There was a movement years ago to change the names, when I lived in New York, of manhole covers. Of the peoplehole covers. I mean, who does this stuff?
Is there like a factory at the end of town where they just mass produce an assembly line of really stupid people? Anyway, here we have her with the speaking of fabrication. A royal fabrication. A royal lie. On royal stationery, no less. Sealed with the royal seal.
And, of course, it ends in royal judgment. These are Naboth's neighbors and they literally are from hell. Satan is pulling the strings of these people and they love to have it so. Because Satan gives them whatever they want for a portion of a lifetime.
But that's as far as he can go. Because, you know, we have a proverb, no hitches on a hearse. You can take it with you, you just won't get to use it. And whether you won't take it, you have to even pay the funeral home extra. Isn't it strange you don't drive right by a funeral home and see little wagons parked out there for people's stuff? Alright, let's go to verse 9.
Because I'm morbid. She wrote in letters saying, Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth with high honor among the people. Poor Naboth, you know, we're going to have a fast to call upon the Lord.
There must be something that's not right here and we need as a community to get together. That's the precedent that we find in the scripture over such a town meeting, such a fast. And he's going to be, you know, one of the tribal elders at the head.
And he's thinking, man, this is great. But it's really his death. He is going to be killed, murdered. And Jezebel and Ahab, they were the law, but they themselves were lawless. Boy, we've never seen anything like that, sarcasm.
The seat of Naboth with high honor among the people. This is giving the impression that he is a good guy and if he messed up, it would really have to be big and genuine. That's the impression that this is setting up for the guest of honor to blaspheme?
No way, but he did. At least that's how the lie is told. Verse 10, and see two of them, scoundrels, in other words, thugs, before him to bear witness against him, saying, you have blasphemed God and the king, then take him out and stone him that he may die. So it is just explicit.
She's very rough in front. I want him dead and this is how I want him dead. I don't want any, you know, I don't want the poll numbers to go down in my husband's poll.
How am I doing everybody? We just want to act like it's all Naboth. Again, we've never seen anything like this in our lifetime. Ahab and Jezebel are truly these wicked people. When we get to verse 25 in 1 Kings 21, we read the commentary of the Lord, but there was none, there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of Yahweh because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.
And we could add, and he loved to have it so. It would be very against the lessons from the Bible to suggest that women have an insignificant role in life. We see she has a very significant role.
What does she do with it? She does it for evil. Some of you may have heard about of Saul Alinsky and his book Rules for Radicals. Of course, he writes in this book on how to agitate and upset government and overthrow righteous people, use their righteousness against them. You know, if they say we answer every letter, then send them 30,000 letters to see if they can answer that and just sort of expose them for being liars that they are.
Well, they've created an impossible condition, and it's a one-sided thing. Everything in Ahab and Jezebel God hates. Some of you may not be familiar with Proverbs 6. I think a lot of Christians either don't know this section of scripture or conveniently sidestep it, but verses 16 through 19 are quite clear.
These six things Yahweh hates, yes, seven, are an abomination to him. A proud look. That's an arrogant look. That's not the pride of being delighted. Hey, I graduated.
I'm so happy with myself. That's okay. But when you say, I graduated and you didn't, chump, then you get an assignee to get a problem. Can you say chump from the pulpit? I meant chump.
No, I'm kidding. Anyway, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows seed of discord among brethren. That one, I think some Christians misread it. I think they think that's one of the Ten Commandments, to sow seeds of discord amongst brethren, because they do it in churches all over the world, unfortunately.
And God says, I hate that. Well, anyway, Saul Alinsky, this is someone who, like Jezebel, is using the law against the innocent. They're using the Ten Commandments against a righteous man. They're going to frame him for a crime, or to be framed, charged, convicted of a crime that he did not do, while they themselves have no standards that you can hold them accountable to. There's nothing news media this way.
Don't they hold everyone else to high standards? Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross-Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.
We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 1 Kings has had a lasting imprint on your life. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series or share it with someone you know, please visit crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit crossreferenceradio.com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's crossreferenceradio.com. Our time with you today is about up, but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God. Join us again as Pastor Rick covers more in the book of 1 Kings on Cross-Reference Radio.
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