1-27-14. 1 Kings 20:1-21. BEN-HADAD ATTACKS ISRAEL-my devotional

1-27-14. 1 Kings 20:1-21. BEN-HADAD ATTACKS ISRAEL

faith not fear

1 Kings 20:1-21

Mon, Jan 27, 2014

Key Verse: 20:13                                                                                                                                                                         Kevin E. Jesmer

“And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

     Dear Lord, thank you for helping us to be content in each and every situation. We have been home bound because of a freezing, polar vortex. We have been financially challenged. But, we are content. I am content to buy clothes at the good will store. I am content with shopping at a discount food chain. I am content with an older car. I am content with working out at the park district. I am content with my eighty’s cds. I am content with my plastic covered windows. Lord, thank you for bringing me into a time of contentment in my life. It is all because of your grace, your love and your truth. In Christ I am content. Meditating on your person, your word and your work around the world, I am content. You are truly living water to my soul. There are so many people that are not content, because they do know your grace. They need to know the springs of living water within their souls. Then they will not have to turn to the world to fill the “God sized hole” in their hearts. I pray that the people across our land my know Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life and be truly content in God.  Please bring contentment in my heart through your word. I pray in the soul satisfying name of Jesus Christ.

First, A Threat (1-12).

Verses 1-12, “Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together. Thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots. And he went up and closed in on Samaria and fought against it. 2 And he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel and said to him, “Thus says Ben-hadad: 3 ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your best wives and children also are mine.’” 4 And the king of Israel answered, “As you say, my lord, O king, I am yours, and all that I have.” 5 The messengers came again and said, “Thus says Ben-hadad: ‘I sent to you, saying, “Deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children.” 6 Nevertheless I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants and lay hands on whatever pleases you and take it away.’” 7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land and said, “Mark, now, and see how this man is seeking trouble, for he sent to me for my wives and my children, and for my silver and my gold, and I did not refuse him.” 8 And all the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen or consent.” 9 So he said to the messengers of Ben-hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you first demanded of your servant I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’” And the messengers departed and brought him word again. 10 Ben-hadad sent to him and said, “The gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.” 11 And the king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.’” 12 When Ben-hadad heard this message as he was drinking with the kings in the booths, he said to his men, “Take your positions.” And they took their positions against the city.” (ESV)

Ben-Hadad was the king of neighboring Aram. He was a good politician and had allied himself with 32 kings in order to attack Samaria. Ahab felt powerless and gave in to Ben-Hadad’s initial demands, but when the Aramean king’s demands kept increasing, Ahab consulted the elders of Israel, and they decided not to surrender. When Ben-Hadad heard the news he vowed to turn Samaria to dust.

I can see here the power of fear. Fear made Ahab negotiate with one who is in the darkness. Who would offer up people’s lives to a criminal in exchange for life? What if a criminal demanded my family in exchange for my own safety? I pray that I would not give into darkness and have to strength to say, “No way!” and stand up to the darkness with the light of God. Why should darkness prevail anyway? Why not allow the power of God, the power of light and life prevail? God is on our side. He is with. He will help us to stand and to prevail against encroaching darkness. This may mean the end of our lives in this world. But so be it. Darkness can not be allowed to prevail.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

We do not have be numbered among those who do nothing because of fear. No. We can be numbered among those act with prayer and faith in our hearts.

Second, A Prophet (13-21).

Verses 13-21, “And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 14 And Ahab said, “By whom?” He said, “Thus says the Lord, By the servants of the governors of the districts.” Then he said, “Who shall begin the battle?” He answered, “You.” 15 Then he mustered the servants of the governors of the districts, and they were 232. And after them he mustered all the people of Israel, seven thousand. 16 And they went out at noon, while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, he and the thirty-two kings who helped him. 17 The servants of the governors of the districts went out first. And Ben-hadad sent out scouts, and they reported to him, “Men are coming out from Samaria.” 18 He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive. Or if they have come out for war, take them alive.” 19 So these went out of the city, the servants of the governors of the districts and the army that followed them. 20 And each struck down his man. The Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them, but Ben-hadad king of Syria escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21 And the king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and struck the Syrians with a great blow.” (ESV)

Ahab had no plan of attack, but he received an unsolicited visit from a prophet of the Lord. The word of the Lord was that he would give Israel victory over the vast army through a few young provincial commanders. The Lord did this so that Ahab would know that he is the Lord. God was faithful to Israel. Their smaller army was able to rout the Aramean alliance. Ahab was a terrible king who never requested God’s help, but even here the Lord was faithful to his people and to his word. In the time of distress he made himself known.

I can see here that the Lord will intervene to protect even a godless man and his government, like Ahab. God was acting in faithfulness to his people. But he came to the rescue. The Lord is gracious even to those who are far away. He rains down blessings on the righteous and the unrighteous.

God was working through the young leaders in the kingdom. Look at verse 15 again, “Then he mustered the servants of the governors of the districts, and they were 232. And after them he mustered all the people of Israel, seven thousand.”  The servants of the governors of the district were to go first. God wanted to bring about a victory through the smallest. God was working against what seemed reasonable, for it would seem more reasonable to send out the entire army, the crack soldiers, to ensure a victory.

God really wants to work through the weak. He wants to work through the lowly and humble to bring about his victories in the world. He works through the weak to reveal his power and glory. This is a lesson for Christian leaders. Leaders are tempted to work through their best, through the people with the most credentials and higher degrees. But God has always worked through the lowly and humble. Think about the shepherds who were informed of the birth of Jesus. Think about the poor family of Joseph and Mary. Think about Jesus himself, who came as tiny baby in the manger, who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Paul reaffirms this whole topic in his letter to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 reads, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him  you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (ESV) I rejoice that God chooses the weak to work through. For I am a weak one and Christ can work through me to reveal his glory. As a low level leader in the church and I can also look for the things and people that God can work through. And I may be surprised that he is choosing to work through weak.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me not be paralyzed by fear, but to step out in faith and act.

One Word: God is ready to grant victory through weak people who have faith. 

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