Do not sell yourself to do evil

in the eyes of the Lord!

 

 

“… because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD” (1 Kings 21:20)

 

 

            As I meditated on this verse, I thought of this.  What sells best in Satan's shop?  My personal thought was “my heart.”  In other words, in Satan's shop, my heart is the best seller.  I think that in Satan's shop, which sells with a false heart by twisting an honest heart, our hearts such as greed and covetousness are not beautiful in God's eyes and are sold by changing them into a heart that Satan likes.  That is why the wise man exhorts in Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart ….”

 

            In 1 Kings 21:20, the king of Israel, Ahab, was an evil king who could not keep his heart and had sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord.  At first, King Ahab did not.  According to 1 Kings 20, he was the king of Israel who heard the voice of God and obeyed Him.  And he fought twice with King Ben-Hadad of Syria and his army and won twice.  But where did King Ahab go wrong?  When did he start to commit the sin of disobeying the word of God by selling himself?  According to 1 Kings 20:34, after King Ahab fought and defeated King Ben-Hadad of Syria and his army, he obeyed the word of God and released the man whom God had determined that he should die (vv. 34, 42).  The reason for this was because instead of letting him go through aa treaty with Ben-Hadad, Ben-Hadad's father returned to King Ahab all the cities that Ben-Hadad's father had taken from King Ahab's father (v. 34).  Ultimately, King Ahab was led by his greed or covetousness, and eventually committed the sin of disobeying God's word.  Unfortunately, King Ahab's covetousness did not end there.  But in 1 Kings 21, he coveted Naboth's vineyard near his own palace (21:1-2).  The phrase “close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria” (v. 1) reminds me of David.  Didn’t David, who was walking around on the roof of the palace, commit a sin by being drawn to sexual desire when he saw Bathsheba bathing close to his own palace?  In the same way, King Ahab also coveted Naboth's vineyard near his royal palace.  After all, maybe we should not be close to people who have a lot of power, honor, and material things.

 

           The reason King Ahab coveted Naboth's vineyard was because he wanted to “use for a vegetable garden” (v. 2).  Look at King Ahab, who had received “the cities” (20:34) from Ben-Hadad, is now coveting even the Naboth’s vineyard (21:2).  In this way, covetousness or greed is endless.  It is greed or covetousness that cannot be satisfied.  However, Naboth could not satisfy Ahab's desire just because he was a king.  The reason why Naboth refused to give his vineyard to King Ahab was because the Lord forbade that he should give the king the inheritance of his fathers (v. 3).  So King Ahab was sullen and angry (v. 4) in covetousness.  So lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat (v. 4; 20:43).  Then Queen Jezebel appeared (21:5).  In the end, Jezebel urged her husband, King Ahab (v. 25) to commit the sin of killing Naboth.  Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab’s name to the elders and nobles who lived with Naboth’s city (v. 8), proclaiming a day of fasting and seating Naboth in a prominent place among the people (v. 9).  Then she told them to seat two scoundrels opposite to Naboth and had them testify that Naboth cursed both God and the king (v. 10).  Then she told the elders and nobles to take Naboth out and stone him to death (v. 10). This satanic scheme is similar to the case in Acts 6, where the members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law to give false witness, and thus brought Stephen to court and eventually stoned him to death.  The servants of Satan, who is also the father of lies, kill a man by giving false witness.

 

One interesting observation, however, is that when Jezebel asked her husband, King Ahab, “Why are you so sullen?  Why won’t you eat?” (v. 5), King Ahab replied that it was because Naboth said “I will not give you my vineyard” (v. 6), King Ahab was so deaf due to covetousness in his heart that he could no longer hear the voice of God.  Although King Ahab heard the voice of God twice in the war with Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, and fought twice in the mountains and in the plains and was victorious (1 Kgs. Ch. 20),  King Ahab said that Naboth, who told King Ahab “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers’ (v. 3), would not give him his vineyard (v. 6).  He was no longer possible to hear the voice of God in the midst of covetousness and anxiety.  What a shocking degeneracy of one man?  Eventually, after hearing the news through Jezebel that Naboth had been stoned to death, Ahab got up and went down to take possession of Naboth's vineyard (v. 16) and seized his property (v. 19).  Watching Ahab take the land to the point of killing Naboth, we can see how terrible the result of the sin of covetousness was.

 

We must not sell ourselves to do evil against God.  We must guard our hearts from covetousness and greed.  We must be very wary of the spiritual condition in which we cannot even hear the voice of God in the midst of sorrow and frustration due to covetousness.  Rather, we should be quick to hear the word of God.  We must always keep our ears open to hear His word and faithfully obey His word.  Therefore, we should not do evil in God's sight, but do good.