Murder, She Wrote

Series:  Mama Said. . . God Don’t Like Ugly!

Week of: May 12 – 18, 2021

AIM:  This lesson reminds us that we are dealing with life’s injustices in a broken world, yet we are trusting the One who will make things right.  He knows what it is like to experience injustice because He has experienced it.  Life is frequently unfair.  Bad things happen to good people.  Brutality and injustice are all around us.  But God causes ALL things to work together for our good.  Everything is NOT good, but He CAuses all things to work together for OUR good.  God don’t like ugly, and He will deal with it in His way and time.

 INTRODUCTION:

Arrogance is a terrible evil, for it puts people down, pushes them away, and treats them as inferior.  An arrogant attitude says, “I am superior, better, more qualified and capable, more attractive, and more deserving of attention than you are.”  Arrogance can become common behavior for the athlete, the successful manager or businessperson, the highly intelligent or skilled individual, the politician, the excellent speaker or preacher, the successful professional, the famous or highly honored figure.  Arrogance exalts oneself above others, degrading them and often humiliating and shaming them.

Greed and covetousness are forbidden by God.  Covetousness is even named and condemned by one of the Ten Commandments.  A person who covets will take advantage of other people in order to get more and more.  It is covetousness and greed that cause. . .

  • a landlord to rent property that needs repair or to charge too high a price for the rental property
  • a contractor to take shortcuts in his building project
  • a repairman to use secondhand replacement parts or to perform a mediocre job
  • a person to lie, steal, or cheat in order to get what he desires
  • companies to overcharge for their products
  • politicians and other leaders to make false promises and to misuse their authority for their own personal interests and cravings
  • a man or woman to lust after what belongs to someone else

Covetousness and greed can affect any area of our lives, for these two terrible evils arise out of the heart.  It is from within the heart that lusts and sinful desires originate. Look at what God’s Holy Word says about these two terrible evils:

Luke 12:15 (NCV) 15 Then Jesus said to them, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much one owns.”

Colossians 3:5-6 (NLT) So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NIV) 10 Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

But standing opposite the sinful spirit of arrogance is the surety of God’s sovereign judgment.  God is sovereign, which means that He has the power to execute justice upon the earth.  All who are arrogant will stand face-t0-face with God when He executes judgment upon the wicked of this earth.  For one of the great warnings of God is that of coming judgment.  Why is His judgment coming? Because as momma said, “God don’t like ugly!”

BACKGROUND:

There have been many devious and immoral couples throughout history, such as: Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Bonnie and Clyde to name a few. But in the Bible, it goes without saying that Ahab and Jezebel were without doubt the worst of the worst. I think either one of them would have been considered to be intrinsically evil; but together they compounded each other’s sense of wickedness. He enabled her idolatry and she was more than willing to kill to meet his wants and needs.

Elijah’s triumph at Mount Carmel didn’t have much of an impact on King Ahab. He continued to display a lack of regal character. He was a greedy, covetous king, and when he didn’t get what he wanted, he sulked; then was easily manipulated by his conniving Queen. So, he added conspiracy and murder to his resume…and all for a parcel of land.

Here is the background: Naboth had property close to the king’s winter palace, land that Ahab desired; a vineyard fit for a king. We might think Ahab’s offer reasonable and consider Naboth’s refusal poor manners. Yet in Biblical times, one’s land was a sacred trust, tied to one’s honor and ancestors. What was a luxury to the king was life itself to Naboth. It would be shameful to sell, and the Law of Moses forbade the selling of one’s land except in times of dire emergency; and then it could only be leased, not sold outright. Naboth was one of the few faithful in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal; he remained true to his spiritual heritage and his lineage. He had a moral right to refuse the king. His reasoning was covenantal tied to the tradition of his people. Ahab merely wanted some land and didn’t care how that affected others.

So, Ahab went home and pouted, like a spoiled child who didn’t get his way. Wallowing in self-pity he refused to eat. But ruthless Jezebel was all about power. . . and power corrupts. She had no scruples, no respect for God or His law, and was unsympathetic to her husband’s whining. Her pagan worldview said that it was okay for kings to take whatever they wanted, by any means.

1 Kings 16:29-33 (NCV)

29  Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel during Asa’s thirty-eighth year as king of Judah, and Ahab ruled Israel in the city of Samaria for twenty-two years. 

30  More than any king before him, Ahab son of Omri did many things the Lord said were wrong. 

31  He sinned in the same ways as Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he did even worse things. He married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal, the king of Sidon. Then Ahab began to serve Baal and worship him. 

32  He built a temple in Samaria for worshiping Baal and put an altar there for Baal. 

33  Ahab also made an idol for worshiping Asherah. He did more things to make the Lord, the God of Israel, angry than all the other kings before him.

  1. REBELLING against the LORD
  2. Idolatry
  3. Actions provoked God
  4. Aligned with Jezebel
  5. Altar and temple for Baal built in Samaria
  6. Served Baal and worshiped him
  7. Immorality
  8. Temple prostitutes
  9. Performance of rituals
  10. Iniquity
  11. Ahab was Jewish by birth and married outside of his race and outside of his faith when he married Jezebel.
  12. He hated Elijah and Elijah has been on the run from Jezebel for several years.
  13. He turned the nation from the worship of God to idolatry and immorality.
  14. He persecuted the prophets and established cults.

Before the Hebrews entered the Promised Land, the Lord God warned against worshiping Canaan’s gods (Deuteronomy 6:14-15), but Israel turned to idolatry anyway. During the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, at the height of Baal worship in Israel, God directly confronted the paganism through His prophet Elijah. First, God showed that He, not Baal, controlled the rain by sending a drought lasting three-and-one-half years (1 Kings 17:1). Then Elijah called for a showdown on Mt. Carmel to prove once and for all who the true God was. All day long, 450 prophets of Baal called on their god to send fire from heaven—surely an easy task for a god associated with lightning bolts—but “there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29). After Baal’s prophets gave up, Elijah prayed a simple prayer, and God answered immediately with fire from heaven. The evidence was overwhelming, and the people “fell prostrate and cried, ‘The LORD–He is God! The LORD–He is God!’” (verse 39).

1 Kings 21:1-7 (NLT)

1    Now there was a man named Naboth, from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 

2    One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.”

3    But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.”

4    So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth’s answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat!

5    “What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him. “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?”

6    “I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her.

7    “Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!”

  1. Request from Ahab of Naboth
  2. Let’s make a deal!
  3. Give me your vineyard!
  4. I will pay you for it,
  5. Or I will give you another vineyard.
  1. Reply from Naboth
  2. Naboth refused to sell the vineyard to Ahab.
  3. Naboth’s refusal was based on the fact that he was obedient to the very law Ahab had spent his life in disobedience to and this caused Ahab real problems.
  4. How could he explain to Jezebel that he wanted land but couldn’t get it because the God he didn’t believe in had given it to Naboth?

Leviticus 25:23 (NLT) 23 “The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me.

  • So, rather than accepting Naboth’s explanation Ahab reacted in anger and demonstrates his anger by pouting!

1 Kings 21:8-16 (NLT)

8     So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the town where Naboth lived. 

9     In her letters she commanded: “Call the citizens together for a time of fasting, and give Naboth a place of honor. 

10   And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

11   So the elders and other town leaders followed the instructions Jezebel had written in the letters. 

12   They called for a fast and put Naboth at a prominent place before the people. 

13   Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death. 

14   The town leaders then sent word to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.”

15   When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, “You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!” 

16   So Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it.

 

  1. Reaction of Jezebel
  2. It is interesting to note that Naboth had said that he could not sell his land because of what the word of God said and yet Jezebel would take the same word of God and twist it around to kill Naboth and then steal his land.
  3. Look at how she does it. It says, she sent a letter, giving instructions to how Naboth should be killed, to the nobles and these men would have been the elders or the spiritual leaders of Israel.
  4. These were the very men who had been entrusted by God to care for the spiritual needs of the people.
  5. She told them to proclaim a fast which was a day of humiliation for when someone sinned against God or even against the king.
  6. She said to give Naboth a seat of high honor at the fast. At a feast this would be a good thing but at a fast it could also be a seat of dishonor. One did not really know why they were there until they were either rewarded or punished. (See how sneaky that is??)
  7. Then two worthless fellows accuse Naboth of blasphemy.
  8. Notice Jezebel knew enough about God’s law to know that it took two witnesses to establish a legal charge.

Deuteronomy 17:6 (NIV) On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

 

  • By their testimony Naboth was charged with blasphemy and according to the law this was a crime deserving of death by stoning.

Leviticus 24:16 (AMPC)16 And he who blasphemes the Name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him; the stranger as well as he who was born in the land shall be put to death when he blasphemes the Name [of the Lord].

  • Later we are also told that Naboth’s sons also died for their father’s sin which meant there would be no one left to inherit the land and according to the law the property of slain criminals was forfeited to the crown.
  • So, Naboth and his family were dead, Ahab got his property and as far as he was concerned, he got away with murder and there was no blood on his hands.
  • RESPONSE of God
  • Naboth died and no one seemed to notice but God did!
  • Nothing is hidden from God! He saw it all!! 
  • He can see in the dark as well as in the light. 
  • He can see around corners. 
  • He sees things before they happen.
  • And He will make evil doers pay!
  • You may get by, but you won’t get away!
  • As the scripture says, “He touched the apple of God’s eye,” which is another way of saying he poked his finger in God’s eye.
  • Has anybody ever poked their finger in your eye? No one had to tell you how to react because no matter who does it or why, we always react!
  • And our reaction is not selfish it’s just that our eye is the most sensitive part of our body.
  • Mama said. . .“God don’t like ugly.”
  • And God doesn’t like ugly and He will repay Ahab and Jezebel for their wrongdoing.

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                        Thank God that no matter what you go through, God has promised to make all things work for the good of them that love Him.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:           Be prepared to take a stand when you see arrogance at play; remind the players that God will get the victory.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:                Share with others that life’s ultimate battle is in Christ’s hand and the battle has already been won.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:               Giving allows us to be more like Christ; give until it hurts.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:                    In life you will be lied on, cheated, abused and mistreated; know that God has your back for He will get the glory no matter what.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Your Arms are too Short to Box with God

SERIES:         Momma Said

DAILY BIBLE READINGS:   Romans 8:28; Acts 12:1-24; James 5:16

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