May 10 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day…” ~1 Kings 21:29

The wicked ways of King Ahab and his queen are highlighted in today’s reading. It’s silly that the king of Israel would be so upset as to forgo eating because he can’t buy a plot of ground for his vegetable garden! Ahab has become a petty tyrant controlled by his own selfishness and greed. While he’s pouting, Jezebel is plotting. Perhaps Ahab suspects that his witch of a wife will take matters into her own hands, and she certainly does. Jezebel has Naboth, the vineyard owner, eliminated (literally), and Ahab happily acquires the property. What a royal couple!

The Lord is angry with Ahab for this latest in a string of offenses. He sends Elijah to confront him. Elijah is back to work after a brief sabbatical, but he’s still not popular with the royal house. One can almost hear the exchange as the prophet enters the palace courts: Elijah announces, I have a word from the Lord, your Highness, to which the king replies, “So you have found me, my enemy!” (1 Kings 21:20).   There is no love lost here!

Although Ahab doesn’t like Elijah because he never brings good tidings (for reasons Ahab never quite seems to understand), he does respect him. And, amazingly, Ahab repents when the prophet points out his sin. This corrupt king, who surrounds himself with preachers who tell him what he wants to hear (see 1 Kings 22:13), listens and humbles himself before the Lord. God forgives the man and stays His hand of judgment showing mercy to the wicked king of the north (1 Kings 21:29)! Humility and repentance does not go unnoticed by God, even when it comes from people who deserve the worst!

Ahab’s name is forever enshrined in the hall of shame, and his children continue to walk in his evil ways, but even he tasted the Lord’s mercy when he humbled himself. Ahab’s life is a harrowing reminder of the influence one person can have on so many others. His repentance is a happy reminder that no matter how badly we have messed up, God is ready to respond to genuine repentance. What a God we worship that even Ahab was a recipient of His grace. If you have failed Him, humble yourself before Him now. Seek forgiveness for the actions, attitudes, or words that offended Him and receive His mercy.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.