On verses 35-36: This is an odd story, but what can we learn from it? When you don’t obey God’s Word, you become vulnerable to the attack of the enemy, whom the Bible describes elsewhere as a lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). As strange as God’s Word might sometimes seem to finite people like us, God’s Word is there for our protection. We’re much better off trusting in God’s Word than trusting in ourselves.
1 Kings 20:37-43 (NIV) 37 The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. 38 Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.” “That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.” 41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.'” 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.
On verses 37-43: Disguising himself as a wounded soldier, the prophet meets King Ahab and tells him, “I agreed to guard a prisoner with my life, but the prisoner got away.” King Ahab responds, “Then you must pay with your life since you let the prisoner get away.” The prophet takes off his disguise and tells King Ahab that King Ahab is guilty of the same sin: Ahab let King Ben-Hadad of Aram get away when the Lord had intended that Ben-Hadad should die (v42). As a result, King Ahab would be destined to die in place of Ben-Hadad and the Israelites would suffer in place of the Arameans. Upon hearing this news Ahab returns home “sullen and angry” (v43).
What can we learn from this?
1. God wants us to have a take no prisoners approach to our enemy Satan. Don’t try to negotiate or compromise with Satan, because if you give him an inch, he’ll try to take a mile. Satan does not play nice, so don’t give into him or try to strike a deal with him.
2. Just like King Ahab would die in place of Ben-Hadad, centuries later a king would be killed in place of a prisoner who deserved to die: the Lord Jesus would die in the place of sinners like us. It would be his life for our lives.
3. Notice that when King Ahab got undesirable news from the Lord concerning his death, rather than repenting and humbling himself before God, King Ahab went away “sullen and angry” (v43). When God chooses to do something that is different from what we desire, we can either be angry about it and turn from God as Ahab did, or we can humble ourselves before God and allow God to do a greater work in our lives. May you and I choose the latter.
Heavenly Father, it is amazing to me that Jesus would die in my place, though I deserved to die for my sin while Jesus had never sinned. Thank You that through Christ’s death on the cross, my sins are totally forgiven and I have complete victory over the enemy. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!