Men of the Bible Series: Naboth (I Kings 21:1-17)
Naboth lived in Jezreel. He owned a vineyard alongside the summer palace of Ahab, the king of Israel. This property had been in his family for generations. It was more than his inheritance; it was his heritage. Ahab was very wealthy, but all his possessions did not satisfy him, and he coveted the vineyard which belonged to Naboth.
Ahab, among several other things, lacking in godliness and contentment, offered to trade Naboth his vineyard for a better vineyard, or to purchase his land. The king held a lot of power and a lot of influence. People typically did as the king requested. The vineyard, part of Naboth’s inherited property, had belonged to his ancestors for many generations, so how could he sell it? According to Leviticus 25:23-28 and Numbers 36:7, God had clearly forbidden the sale of this property. The Word of God is very clear that the king could not buy the inheritance of the people (Ezekiel 46:18). Ahab would have already known this.
To his surprise and anger, Naboth refused King Ahab’s offer. Naboth told King Ahab, “The Lord forbid it me”. He refused on the grounds that God said he could not sale the land. How could he do this thing when God had already forbidden it? Naboth had the courage of his convictions. He refused to disobey God. Naboth decided some things were not for sale, regardless of who was buying or what they were willing to give for it. Compromise is always wrong when it means sacrificing a principle. You will never regret, or ever go wrong, if you allow the Bible to guide your life (Psalm 119:105; 19:8; Proverbs 3:5-6).
As a result of Ahab being rejected, we see him pouting and acting like a spoilt child! Often, people sulk when they cannot have their own way! His refusal to sell would cost him his life through the devious plot of Jezebel. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, is one of the most wicked and manipulative people in the Bible. She not only wrought great evil, but she influenced Ahab to do evil. When she heard of Naboth’s refusal. She personally involved herself in the situation. Jezebel bribed two false witnesses to charge Naboth with treason, I Kings 21:11-14 (SEE Exodus 22:28; Leviticus 24:16). She falsified documents (she signed her husband’s name) and connived with two evil men to bear false witness to accuse Naboth of blaspheming the Lord. She had Naboth, a God-fearing man, stoned to death. She gained the vineyard for Ahab, and he took possession of it. Her sinister plot succeeded, and a humble servant of God was stoned to death. Ahab and Jezebel had defied the Lord, but they could not get away with it, for He is sovereign in the affairs of mankind and He always has the last word. Immediately following Jezebel’s wicked plot, the word of the Lord came to Elijah.
Naboth valued what he had, and he knew the king would not. He knew that Ahab was not worthy to possess the thing Ahab had been given by God. What Naboth possessed was not his to sale anyway. What he possessed was the gift of God. Naboth was to keep the land in the family and pass it down from generation to generation. He lived and died knowing that he had done the right thing.
King Ahab represents Satan, Naboth represents the Christian, and Naboth’s fathers represent God the Father. Satan wants to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10a), when it comes to purity, testimony, family, etc., Satan’s scheme is to convince the believer that what he is trading for is far better. However, it can never compare with the value of the things God has given. A godly heart never seeks retaliation or revenge. We are never to give license to do wickedness. We are always to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:18), for love demands it. Vengeance and payback can devour our hearts, causing us to ignore peace, love, and justice. As a result, we sometimes find ourselves lashing out in bitterness and hostility. A heart that is pleasing to God is one that seeks peace and brotherly love among all people everywhere.
Questions to Consider:
• How much is your testimony or purity worth?
• In which areas of your life have you ever been discontent or perhaps even covetous?
• What have you determined in your life to be not for sale?
• How much is your soul worth? Nothing in this world is worth losing that (Mark 8:36-37).
Points to Ponder:
• Sinful men and women cannot defy God and get away with it (Numbers 32:23).
• We must guard what we have at all costs.
• Those who have a price are those who are willing to sell themselves if the price is right.
• We all must make important decisions in life, but our spiritual decisions are the most important of all.
PRAYER: LORD, thank you for everything you give me. I thankful that you do not always give me what I want because my desires would draw my heart from being satisfied in You. Help me to be content in You with what You have given me and not to be focused on what my flesh wants. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.