The Unchecked Slide of Self

“Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. [He] did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built.  And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him...

“A prophet came to Ahab and said, ‘Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ And Ahab said,.. ‘Who shall begin the battle?’ He answered, ‘You…’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’ And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen…

After this Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.’ But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth had said… And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.” 1 Kings 16:29-33; 20:13-14;42-43; 21:2-4

Ahab was no saint. Against all deserts, God in His grace gave him numerous opportunities to experience His power over nature and in battle, and sent him prophets to convey His word that he might turn to Him. Ahab’s hard heart only calcified further, resisting every display of mercy, every command that offered true freedom. (1 Kings 18:31-39,41-45; 20:28-29,38-42)

Ahab started bad, and would not get over himself. He married a wicked, conniving woman who condoned his capriciousness and spoiled insistence on his own way, and with unspeakable cruelty ‘solved’ his self-pity and pout. One sin begat the next, pride begat avarice begat deception, until the slide down the decline greased with self-importance was impossible to reverse. But God would not, and will not, be mocked. (1 Kings 21:5-15)

A stubborn, resistant heart deadens to the Lord over seasons and years of selfish living. Determining who is on our throne is our vital start, and will determine the course of our spiritual walk. To elevate ourself and ignore or refuse His lordship sets us on a trajectory of idolatry, foolish self-promotion, skewed thinking, and ultimate destruction. Our rejection of Christ portends His of us, a sobering reality for those who choose to be their own king. (1 Kings 21:20-22)

Are there places in my heart I want the Spirit not to go, idols I refuse to relinquish, self-justifications I hide from scripture’s searchlight? In what ways have I slid into thinking I’m a bit more important, deserving, free to indulge my flesh? God welcomes, with fresh mercy, the worst of sinners who humbles himself. (1 Kings 21:25-29; Lamentations 3:22-23; 1 John 1:9)

My God, check NOW any tendency to replace Your highness with my own.

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