Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1 Kings 21:5-7 -- On Pouting, Death, and the Tenth Commandment

"But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?
And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.
And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
1 Kings 21:5-7

Ahab wanted Naboth's vineyard so he could have an herb garden.  He offered him fair trades... a better vineyard or a good price.  He just wanted this particular one because it was close to his house, and he was upset that Naboth wouldn't deal with him.  So far we get it, right?  We've been there.  Something seems fair to us, and that it would work out well for everyone, but for whatever reason, the other person won't agree.  It happens.  Unfortunately for Naboth, that's not where it ended.  Instead of pouting and then getting over it, Ahab and his wife plan to take the vineyard anyway.  I think these verses are exactly where Ahab and his wife crossed the line.  Instead of hearing why he was sad and thinking of another place for the garden, or comforting him, or even coming up with a much better deal for Naboth to see if he would change his mind, Jezebel decides to murder Naboth... to exercise (and abuse) Ahab's power as king.  And Naboth, still pouting, still thinking that he should be able to have his way, goes along with it.
This is the reason for the tenth commandment.  Because we rarely stop at pouting.  Just like faith is believing in something so much that you turn it into a verb and are willing to do whatever it takes to live your belief, coveting is wanting something so much that you are willing to sell your soul for it.  But unlike faith, coveting never works out for long.  Cain never got his brother's fields, and Naboth doesn't get his herb garden.  Even when people do get what they were lusting after, it doesn't last, and it can't give them the eternal joy and peace that we are all looking for.  Only a very temporary and low quality counterfeit.  Pouting gets us nowhere good.  Today, let's try to stop ourselves before we cross the line.  Disappointment happens, but let's nip it as soon as we start in on the whining and pouting, and definitely before it turns into the "I have a right to this" and a willingness to harm ourselves and others in order to obtain it.  God gives us the power to be happy now.  Right now, without anything additional in our lives at all.  Let's stop expecting that we need more, and be satisfied with all the blessings that the Lord gives us every day.

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