On verses 21-28: These verses summarize the 12 year reign of Omri. From a political and military standpoint, Omri was an impressive king. Omri outlasted his opponent Tibni in a six year civil war (v21-22). Omri built a new capital city for Israel called Samaria. Ancient Assyrian records even refer to Israel as “the land of Omri”. So from a secular perspective, Omri was an effective king.
However, from a spiritual perspective, Omri was a failure. As verses 25 and 26 say, “Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him. He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam…so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.”
What can we learn from this? When measuring a person’s success, the criteria God focuses on is different from what most people focus on. God is more concerned about your character than your accomplishments. He is more concerned about your worship than your net worth. If Jesus were to assess the effectiveness of Omri as a king, he might say, “What good is it to gain the whole world, but lose your soul?” (Matthew 16:26) So when assessing others, do not just look at accomplishments, but focus on that person’s character and heart.
1 Kings 16:24 (NIV) 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.
On verse 24: Why did Omri build his new capital city on a hill? It’s not just so that people could see the city from afar. Even more, it’s because being situated on a hill made it difficult for enemies below to attack the capital city (v24). The elevation wasn’t just for the view. It was for protection! So when Jesus says in Matthew 5:14, “You are a city on a hill that cannot be hidden”, He’s saying that God has placed you in a special and protected position. He has elevated you so that it is harder for the enemy to attack you, so that anyone who comes up against you is at a disadvantage. Praise God! You are a city on a hill that cannot be hidden! So since you’re in an elevated position, there’s no need to fight your enemies on their level. You can rise above because God has placed you on a higher level where the view is much better.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would not focus on accomplishments at the expense of character. May I seek to do right in the eyes of God even more than in the eyes of people. Thank You also that I am a city on a hill that cannot be hidden and that I am specially elevated and protected by You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!