Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 21-22
Today’s Reflection: 1 Kings 21:27-29
27) And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. 28) And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29) “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”
It was said of Ahab of Israel, that no king of Israel or Judah had ever been as wicked, that no man had ‘sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord’ as he had (1 Kings 21:25). So it came as no surprise when Elijah the prophet of the Lord, who had so often opposed King Ahab, came to give him words of condemnation and brutal judgment from God (1 Kings 21:20-24).
What actually was surprising was Ahab’s response. After years of defying God and disregarding the messages of His prophets (many of whom he murdered), this word caused Ahab to be remorseful for his sins as shown by behaviour—tearing his royal robes and wearing sackcloth were both signs of mourning. And there was perhaps one more surprise: God was moved by Ahab’s repentant behaviour. While He would not remove the consequences of Ahab’s sin, God did delay them until after Ahab’s death. Ahab was one of the most wicked people in the Bible, and yet God showed mercy even to him.
No matter what you have done, God is willing to be merciful to you, but we must recognize there is a crucial key to obtaining God’s mercy: humility. Ahab humbled himself before God. If we desire God’s mercy we must humble ourselves as well.
What does humbling oneself mean? Is it as simple as changing into rough clothing as Ahab did? Does it mean putting oneself down? No. Humbling oneself means recognizing and living in the truth of who we are in relation to the truth of who God is.
The truth is that God is the creator and sustainer of all life in the universe. Everything that is, is because God allows it to be so. When we sin as Ahab did, when we disobey or disagree with God, we are saying we know more or know better than God does. We are saying we know more than the one who hung the stars in space and keeps them spinning. We are saying we have a better way or a better idea than the one who wove replicating cells that could grow into a living being out of nothingness. When we disregard, disobey or disagree with the Word of God, we are being the opposite of humble. We are being proud.
Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
But we humble ourselves when we recognize God’s authority and His divine right to ordain whatever He chooses to bring to pass. We humble ourselves when we accept that everything God says is true, including how much He loves us, how much we mean to Him, and how willing He is to forgive and restore us.
If we are proud God cannot speak to us because we are unable to hear the truth, He cannot show us anything because we are unable to see the truth. But when we are humble we can’t help but accept the truth of who God is. And when we are honestly humble, God can reach us and do His good will and pleasure in our lives.
1 Peter 5:5b-6 – 5b) Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.