Even though Ahab had worshipped other gods the real God had not abandoned Israel, and He gave Ahab opportunities to know the truth, for one example turn to 1 Kings 20:1-34 and read the story. Here is a verse out of this particular story; 13 And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. Even though Ahab had every chance he didn't have the character to overcome his passions as we will see in the next chapter.
1st Kings 21:1-7 And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. It is interesting that she asked him if he ruled the kingdom because she was about to act like she ruled the kingdom which in many ways she did. Verses 8-16 So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:
And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead. And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
First of all Ahab coveted his neighbors field, if you will recall the 10 commandments i will add the 10th here; Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. All sin begins in the mind, as we see here Ahab began to desire his neighbors field. In ancient Israel the land was very important, so much so that God had a rule that even if a family went bankrupt and sold their land a relative could buy it back at any time, and failing that every 50 years all land was to return to the family it was given to originally. Now Ahab should have known all this because all kings were instructed to write their own copy of the law; Deuteronomy 17:18-20 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. Ahab was willing to pursue his desires to the point of bribing Naboth but not any further. His wife however had no problem with taking whatever she desired and that is one way that evil strengthens it's grip on people. Ahab was willing to be disobedient to
a point yet when his wife took it to the limit he went along with it by being willing to benefited from it. That made him just as guilty as she and they would both pay dearly for it. We will see the result of this "last straw" later, for now i'll just say that this episode was indeed the straw that broke the camels back as far as God was concerned.
In verses 7-15 we get an insight into the way evil very often gets things done then and now. First of all evil will find a way to get and maintain as much influence over the authority that God has established as it can. Anytime you get enough power, money, fame, and influence established in any organization be it a denomination, corporation, or government, evil will not rest until it finds it's way in. Please don't misunderstand and think that gary said all denominations are rife with evil, because i DID NOT SAY THAT, i do however believe there is corruption in many of them. If there was a Judas in the original 12, well you get the picture. What i said was that evil will not rest until it finds a way to pervert it. Anyone that is associated with the leadership of a church or denomination that wants to be honest will admit that it takes constant vigilance to keep it out. This is a major reason that you should pray for your church and denominational leadership, as well as the government because they are under pressure that you cannot imagine unless you have experienced it. If the devil tempts you with your limited influence how much more those whose decisions influence multitudes. Pray that God will put those in power that will choose Him above all and remember that God gives you what you ask for, having a government to rule over His people was not God's first choice, read 1st Samuel chapter 8.
Jezebel may not have cared at all about the field, but if she could get it for Ahab she could enhance her influence over him, and at the same time diminish God's influence in his life, after all as we saw earlier God had not given up on Ahab yet, perhaps the reason the devil tempted Ahab with the field in the first place. She forges letters to the nobles in Naboth's city directing them to flatter Naboth by honoring him then to bring in false accusers to condemn him. At this point i must say that almost every time i have been deceived by people they began with flattery, i am at the point now that i would rather someone come up and pick me to pieces with criticism that flatter me in any way, almost nobody who has criticized me has been able to deceive me and many have given me useful information. Another point to emphasize here is that if the nobles were unwilling to commit such a dastardly deed her plan would not have succeeded and the innocent man would have lived another day. To accomplish it's purpose evil must have cooperation. No tyrant ever ruled without the consent of the people he ruled. Whether the motivation was greed, lust, fear or any other sin, wickedness cannot rule without people's consent. Those who are confident in God and willing to obey Him first, no matter the consequences, may glorify God in their martyrdom but they will never be ruled by tyrants. Consider Elijah, he was in the middle of one of Israel's most wicked periods yet Ahab never ruled him, and never killed him i might add. God will never call you to serve, nor excuse you for serving a tyrant. Evil has never changed it's modus operandi, only the names are changed to destroy the innocent. Back to the story, Jezebel's plan works and Naboth is killed. Ahab steals his land and thinks he got a pretty good deal, but God had a different idea. 1st Kings 21:17-24 And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat. Elijah was God's main spokesman for that time and Ahab had fallen so far that he considered Elijah his enemy, which since he was speaking what God told him to say meant that Ahab considered God his enemy. Poor ol Ahab never even got to enjoy this his latest sin, before he could close the deal Elijah is there to pronounce God's judgment on him, and it was severe. Verses 25 and 26 give the reason; But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. Now however an amazing thing occurs and gives a glimpse of how much God doesn't want to see us destroyed, verses 27-29 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
If god will be merciful in the middle of judgment with the most wicked king to rule Israel imagine how merciful he want's to be with you when you disobey, or your children when they stray, the response He looks for is that you go to Him and admit your fault then do all you can to change your behavior, after all, for those of you who are parents, isn't that all you expect from your kids, not perfection, but movement in that direction. And when they disobey do you kill them for their disobedience, or do they ever, no matter how wicked they behave, cease from being your children? Before you think that i'm giving you a licensee to do anything you want, the demons are refereed to as the sons of God in Gen. 6:2, additionally you should read the last two chapters of Revelation especially 22:14 and 15. There is a very good reason Jesus refered to God as Father, unless you see Him in that context you will never understand the bible. There is a point where He must pronounce judgment as He did against Ahab, but it takes a lot to get Him to that point and i think that point is reached not for vengeance but because He has other children that he loves just as much and Ahab in this case had become dangerous enough to their well being that God could not allow him to continue.