1 Kings 21:17-29
“Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.” Verse 29 (NIV)
Ahab is not only the worst king in Israel’s history; it seems he is also fairly moody. He pouts like a spoiled brat, and he hates God’s prophets. But suddenly, at least briefly, he listens to the hard truth of God’s verdict on his life, and he repents. He is a changed man, at least for a while.
I was taught early in my Christian life that true repentance always meant forgiveness and a clean slate from God. However, I was also taught that forgiveness did not necessitate freedom and healing from my past sins. For instance, if I was an alcoholic prior to my repentance I may still have to pay the physical consequence for my behaviour, such as sickness or withdrawal symptoms.
I sure wish I were less like Ahab. Some days I feel really righteous – my faith in Jesus is working … I am progressing. Other days, like Ahab, I am moody, I stumble and sin, and pretty much act like a spoiled little brat. I am continually amazed by his mercy.
Does it surprise you? God talks to Elijah as if Ahab’s brief moment of repentance means something. God seems truly excited about it, and he gives Ahab mercy because of it. Truthfully, from my small-minded, human viewpoint, I think God is much too generous with Ahab.
Yes! God is much too generous! And he still is today – to all of us prodigal, moody sons and daughters. Our Father is much, much too generous to us in Christ. Here’s your moment. Take it. Repent and believe – and trust God’s mercy.
Father, I am too often like Ahab. I am often sinful, but I am also sorry for my sins. In your mercy, please forgive me, Lord, and help me to be more like Jesus. In his name I pray. Amen.