Personal Accountability

KEY VERSE: “Devise not evil against thy neighbor, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.” —Proverbs 3:29

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Kings 21:4-11, 17-19

KING AHAB COULD have been a better king over Israel, but by nature being selfish, he fell a ready prey to the seductive influences of his evil wife, Queen Jezebel.

We are informed that Ahab negotiated fairly with Naboth in an effort to acquire possession of his vineyard. He offered him another piece of land—“a better vineyard”—to take its place; or, if it would be more satisfactory, he was willing to pay Naboth cash for the land. This particular plot was desirable to Ahab because it adjoined his own property. To him there seemed no good reason why he should not be able to purchase it.

But Naboth had inherited the vineyard. Doubtless it had been in the family for generations, and to him it held a sentimental value. So he was quite within his rights when he refused to sell it, even to Israel’s king. The king was greatly disturbed that his will had been thwarted, so he went to bed, turned his face toward the wall and pouted.

Perhaps Ahab himself would have carried the matter no further, except for Jezebel. She was the type of person to do more than pout. She began at once to plot the death of Naboth in order that the king might acquire the vineyard. Evidently this was with the king’s knowledge, and probably also with his consent; for, when Naboth had been murdered, the Lord held Ahab responsible for his death.

The Lord informed Elijah of what had occurred, and instructed him to go to the vineyard of Naboth where he would find Ahab, who had gone there to possess it. Elijah was told to say to Ahab, “Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?” And then the pronouncement of divine judgment: “In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.”

And then concerning the position of his family as the ruling house of Israel, the Lord said, I “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.”

In verse 25 we read that Ahab “did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” From this we gather that Ahab himself was not the instigator of the sins with which the Lord charged him, but, nevertheless, was just as guilty from the divine standpoint because he allowed himself to be used to further the schemes of the wicked queen. This is a principle which all the Lord’s people will do well to observe.

The law of God for man requires one to love his neighbor as himself. This means we should have great concern for our neighbors. Just because we have a strong desire to possess something which is enjoyed by another, is not a valid reason why we should have it, or be concerned because we cannot acquire it.

Those who, during this age, have made a consecration to do God’s will, have entered into a covenant with him by sacrifice. (Ps. 50:5) This means that they have voluntarily agreed to give up all earthly things, and to set their affections on things above. The Lord, in turn, makes them stewards of that which they have presented to him, and expects them to use his “goods” wisely, to the furtherance of his cause, and to his glory.

To these it should matter very little just how much of earthly possessions the Lord permits them to retain for use in his service. But even so, we need to be on guard lest the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches lure us away from the straight and narrow path of sacrifice and service. It is so easy to covet a little more time and comfort for the flesh than it really needs.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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