The Mercy of the God of Israel
1 Kings 21:25-29 :
But there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight,
whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. He did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did,
whom Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel. When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes,
and put sackcloth on his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
Yahweh’s word came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “See how Ahab humbles himself before me?
Because he humbles himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days;
but I will bring the evil on his house in his son’s day.”
Let's take a close look at this. God tells us, here, that
"there was no one like
Ahab, who sold himself to do that which was evil"
in God's sight. It says that "he did very abominably in following idols,"
as I have already mentioned. Ahab wasn't just a bad dude, he was among the worst in Israeli history, but something happened;
something very important. Ahab changed his mind.
He started morning his condition and what he brought upon himself, his people and his God. Instead of pouting and refusing to
eat because he didn't get what he wanted, he realized that he was in trouble with the God who brought fire out of heaven that burned up
rocks and dust. The vineyard didn't matter, Jezebel didn't matter and neither did his popularity with the people.
God told Elijah that Ahab had actually humbled himself. One of the most wicked kings in history repented of his sin before God,
but far more amazing than that, is what God did. God had just cursed Ahab, but because Ahab repented, God did not immediately tear
the kindom from him like he had from others. God saw his humility and accepted it, after all Ahab had done to God and His people.
Why would God tell you and I this piece of history? I believe that one reason is to demonstrate to us that He wants to
change our future if only we would turn from our evil ways and humble ourselves before Him. It doesn't matter if you are as
wicked as Ahab. God wants you to turn. He doesn't want to destroy you. God's treatment of Ahab demonstrates the lengths to
which our God goes to keep us from what we actually deserve. Unfortunately, Ahab's change of mind was still not complete.