King Ahab was terrified. King Beh-hadad of Aram had united with thirty-two kings and their combined armies had launched an attack against the Kingdom of Israel. Ben-hadad sent a message to the king demanding his silver, gold, wives and the best of his children (1 Kings 20:3). Do you know what King Ahab's response was? "Okay".
Needless to say, Ben-hadad was not satisfied. People like Ben-hadad never are. You give in to their demands hoping to pacify them only to have them come back for more. Sure enough, soon afterwards, another message is received. This time Ahab is informed that the next day Ben-hadad would send "officials" to search his palace and the homes of his officials for anything else of value and seize it.
I find it interesting that King Ahab let his wives and the best of his children go without putting up a fight but now, when he realized he was truly going to be cleaned out and left with nothing, he began to squawk. Seeking the counsel of the elders of the land, instead of God of course, Ahab said that he would agree to the first demand but not the second. I still can't get over how this man did not put up a fuss when his wives and children were demanded but balked at the idea of giving up more of his "stuff". A battle of words quickly escalated to a physical battle.
There were more surprises yet in this story. King Ahab receives a message from God by way of a prophet. God informs King Ahab that He will hand the enemy over to him so that Ahab may know that God is the Lord. The Israelites are victorious but God tells them to prepare for another battle in the spring.
Ben-hadad's officers reasoned that the God of Israel must be the God of the Hills so this time they would take the battle to the plains. Of course this plan failed because the God of the Hills is also the God of Plains...and everwhere else.
King Ahab allowed his enemy to live. He in fact called him his "brother", invited him into his chariot and struck a deal with him. This was not what God had told him to do. King Ahab was supposed to destroy his enemies and instead he was "sitting down to tea" with them so to speak and striking deals. God had given him the victory. He had conquered his enemies and yet he was not behaving like a conquering king! He disobeyed God.
Of course, he was confronted with his sin. We always are you know. We might think we have gotten away with it but eventually we come face to face with our guilt.
The prophet said to him, “This is what the Lord says: Because you have spared the man I said must be destroyed, now you must die in his place, and your people will die instead of his people.” 1 Kings 20:42 (NLT)
When I read that, I thought of another king who had been guilty of adultery and murder and his name was King David. When confronted with his sin, David repented and his prayer of repentance can be found in Psalm 51. Ahab on the other hand did not repent of his sin. In fact, the Bible tells says:
So the king of Israel went home to Samaria angry and sullen. 1 Kings 20:43 (NLT)
Both men were guilty of sin. Both men were confronted by God in regards to their sin and both men were disciplined by God. One man, King David, acknowledged his sin, repented of it and accepted God's discipline. The other man did not.
May we not only repent of our sins but also accept God's discipline.
Scripture quotations unless otherwise noted are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.