“Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’” – Deuteronomy 32:35
In 1 Kings chapter 21, we read the story of Naboth. King Ahab has his summer palace in Jezreel. One day while walking, he sees the vineyard of Naboth and decided he wanted it.
So Ahab went to Naboth and said, “Would you please sell your vineyard to me? If you will not sell your vineyard to me, would you please trade it? I am the king. If you will give me your vineyard I will give you another piece of land here in Israel that is worth much more.” But Naboth was a man of God who followed the law of God. Here is his simple reply to the king: “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.” (1 Kings 21:3)
Naturally the king was humiliated and then became angry. He got into a deep funk. He whined, sulked and even refused to eat. When Jezebel asked why he was so grouchy, he tells her the story. Jezebel is into control so she hatches a diabolical plot. She decides to write a letter in the name of the king and sends it to the elders of the town. The elders do as the queen suggests and Naboth is set up and stoned to death. Jezebel tells the king that the vineyard is now his. King Ahab was pleased.
It appears that the king and queen got away with murder. When you read the story you wonder, “where is God? Where is God when the wicked rise to power? Where is God when a man like Ahab and a woman like Jezebel can get away with murder? Where is God when evil is let loose in the world?”
But that is not the end of the story. Proverbs 15:3 tells us, “The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.” God had been watching. God is in control and now He is about to act.
God came to his prophet, patted him on the shoulder, and told him to head for Jezreel. ““Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be at Naboth’s vineyard in Jezreel, claiming it for himself. Give him this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!” (1 Kings 21: 18-19)
Ahab and Jezebel die just as God had predicted, although Jezebel lives for another 20 years. There are important takeaways from this story. First, God’s patience will not last forever. He’s not slow in the way some people count slowness. God is patient, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
God’s timing is always perfect. And, because He is in control, I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.
- What does Naboth’s response to the king tell you about him? What does the king’s response tell you about him?
- Why do we expect God to act immediately? What should our expectations be?
- Does control and coveting things go hand in hand?
- What application does this story have for our lives today? What gives you contentment? What takes away your contentment?