What do you think of when you see the name Ahab? I think wicked, married to Jezebel, spoiled, and weak - let his wife carry out his dirty work for him. I first read about Ahab in 5th grade when we studied the Judges and Kings in the Old Testament. Maybe it shaped my opinion pertaining to Ahab or maybe reading about him each year, somehow I zoned out and missed the end of the story.
I Kings 21:
Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And 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 the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.
Ahab wanted a vegetable garden close to his house, did not get it, went to bed and pouted. Seriously - the king was in bed pouting and like a child would not eat.
But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
Jezebel takes control and sets Naboth up to be stoned and Ahab takes control of the land. The Lord sends Elijah to deliver a message to Ahab.
Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.”
For some reason in my mind, this is where the story ends for Ahab. He was evil, the Lord gave him a message, and at some point Ahab died. The End.
But that is not how it ended!
(There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)
And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son's days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”
Ahab truly repented and had a life changing experience. He humbled himself before the Lord. It was sincere. Though I would love to say I was like Stephen with the face of an angel (See Acts 6.) or had to wear a veil like Moses because the glory of the Lord radiated from me...it is not so. I fear I have more in common with Ahab. I've sinned along the way - idolatry (other things were like a god to me), gossip, judging others, murmuring and complaining and the list continues. God is a God of second chances. Ladies - take it before God, repent, and live in freedom. It is not too late.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.