Tag Archives: temptation

1 Kings 21:25 – stirred to do evil by his wife

1 Kings 21:25 “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.” 

Ahab was an evil king. The bible says he “sold himself to do wickedness..”. And he did this because “Jezebel his wife stirred him up”. There is no excuse for Ahab. He had to take ownership for his evil actions. He cannot blame his sins on Jezebel. We may be enticed to sin, but we are all responsible for our own sins. Eze 18:4 reminds us that “..the soul who sins shall die.” 

But notice the influence that Ahab’s wife Jezebel had on him. The verse tells us that Ahab was “stirred up” by Jezebel to do evil. How could this happen? Isn’t the husband suppose to lead and rule? Was it simply because Jezebel had a domineering character? Let’s consider other parts of the bible that may give us clues to this matter.

Gen 3:16 says of the women “…your desire shall be for your husband,..” – NKJV. The innate meaning of this phrase is brought out in the NLT version which translates it as – “..you will desire to control your husband..“. In other words, while the husband is to rule & lead the relationship, there will be a desire by the wife to prescribe how she likes things to be. We see this manifested in the relationship between Abraham & Sarah. While Sarah was hailed as a submissive wife in 1 Pet 3:6, there were instances where this desire to “control” Abraham played up.

God had specifically promised that Abraham will have as many descendants as the stars in the sky. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 but they still did not have any children. Perhaps Sarah was getting impatient. Perhaps she was simply feeling insecure. She probably didn’t like the feeling of being the cause of Abraham not having any children. Hence, she suggested that Abraham have a child with her maidservant Hagar (Gen 16:2). Why would any woman ever make such a suggestion? Some historians suggested that this was the practice & culture at that point in time. But this was clearly against the revealed will of God. I am inclined to think that it was because she felt insecure and wanted to maintain control of the situation. She wanted her family to appear complete – with children as God had promised. And there was no way she could make that happened. Hence, she directed her husband Abraham to have a child with Hagar.

And as in all situations when we fail to obey God’s revealed will, there were consequences. So, after Hagar conceived, she despised Sarah. And in reaction to this, Sarah blamed everything on Abraham – Gen 16:5 “Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.” And we were told in Gen 16:6 that Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar – who was pregnant. How evil of Sarai and how very unreasonable! Wasn’t she the one who suggested this plan in the first place? What could have invoked such cruel behaviour from her? Once again, I am inclined to believe that it was because she felt she was losing control. When a woman goes into such frenzy, we are reminded of the truths in Prov 21:9; 21:19; 25:24 – that it is “better to dwell in the corner of a housetop or wilderness than in a house with a contentious woman“.

When we read of such things in the scriptures, we are sad and reminded of how terrible a state sin has brought about in us. There are important lessons we can learn here:

1) As partners in life, a wife can be a blessing or a curse to husbands. John Wesley had a wife known to be unhelpful to his ministry. She was apparently suspicious of every woman he spoke to, thereby limiting his ministry in so many ways. Why did she do that? I can only think of the truth conveyed in Gen 3:16 that she felt insecure and wanted absolute control of her husband. Hence, it is important that young men do not seek wives based on their appearances or capabilities. These may become snares to them later in their life and relationship. Character & grace should be the most important criteria for what young men seek in their prospective life partners. These are the traits that will last. Similarly, young women should seek such traits in their prospective life partners. Otherwise, they will lack the spiritual leadership that they desire.

2) The challenge laid out for the husband is a tough one. He is to love his wife sacrificially, just like how Christ loved the Church and gave Himself to redeem her. The husband is not to submit to the wife. Instead, he is to lovingly influence her and stir up in her love and good works. This can only be done with great wisdom in handling the various situations that will be encountered in the life together. And this wisdom can only come about with much prayer and devotion to God.

3) When made aware of this truth conveyed in Gen 3:16, a couple ought to prayerfully submit themselves to God for protection. Wives in particular ought to resist the temptation of desiring to “control” their husbands. Husbands ought to protect their wives by not letting them feel any sense of “losing” control, lest they get tempted to manifest irrational behaviour.

We should note that in spite of what Sarah had done, she was hailed as an example of faith in Heb 11:11. She was also commended for her submission to Abraham in 1 Pet 3:6. How can this be for all the apparent evil she committed in the saga with Hagar? Unless her sins are erased by a Saviour who gave Himself to redeem her. And this is the hope that all of us have when we confess our sins to Jesus – the promised Seed in Gen 3:15 who bruised the serpent’s head.

Let us be instructed by the lesson of the scriptures here.

 

Judges 16:20 – He did not know that the lord had departed from him…

“And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭16:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Samson did not realise that the LORD had departed from him. Let us ask several questions related to this matter:

Is Samson a believer, a Christian in the Old Testament?

Heb 11:32 named Samson as one of the heroes of faith. This confirms that he was a believer, an Old Testament saint. The scriptures tell us that his life does not reflect well of a believer. Yet, God used him to bless Israel. But God also heavily chastised him to bring him back to the right path. This is a key sign of a believer – he will repent of his sins because God will work is us to do so.

What does it mean that God “departed” from him?

If we believe that Samson was a believer, how could it be that the LORD departed from him? Would the Holy Spirit ever leave a believer? No! But a believer can be living in sin and grieving the Holy Spirit. In this case, his sense of the presence of God in His life can be so weak that it could feel as if God was not with Him at all. The Holy Spirit could be grieved and withhold His grace in influencing us. How sad a situation! Samson did not even realise that the LORD was not with him. May God help us that we do not decline to such a state.

How can we avoid this experience of Samson?

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ‭‭James‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

JuJThe bible teaches us to “put off” our old ways and “put on” Godly practices. We are not to “put off” and be left with a void. We are to actively “put on” that which is good. The Apostle James teaches us to “resist and flee from the devil”. He did not stop there. He exhorted us to “draw near to God”. This is the simple prescription to avoid the sad state that Samson fell into.

1 Kings 1:9-10 – Are you doing what you are not meant to do?

1 Kings 1:9-10

9. And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants.

 10. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother. (NKJV)

The offering of burnt offering is to be done only by priests. Priests represented men before God; prophets are God’s mouthpiece to men. These are annointed offices that should not be trifled with. When Saul offered sacrifices & did not wait for the prophet Samuel to arrive (in 1 Sam), he was sternly rebuked by the prophet Samuel. Adonijah’s action was here was deliberate & calculated. It was his way of “proving himself”, his “worth” and his deserving of the throne. He invited those whom he knew would support him to join the ceremony. But he did not invite those who will probably warn him that this was not an appropriate thing to do.

Are we pursuing & doing what pleases God? Or are we pursuing something we are ashamed to let our spiritual leaders know about. Are we pursuing something that is beyond our means, our gifts & our talents? Are we pursuing them just to feel good about ourselves & boost our own esteem? Remember that God does not accept us based on our achievements. He receives us simply on the merit of His Son Jesus Christ. The more we depend on Him for our needs, the more we acknowledge His good hand upon in our achievements, the more delighted He will be with us.

Questions for meditation:

1) Am I doing something that I do not want my spiritual friends to know? If so, why am I afraid that they know about it? Would God be pleased with what I am doing?

What you can pray for:

1) May God grant us people & friends who can provide us with good counsel when making decisions in life

2) May God grant us Godly objectivity and discernment when conferring with people around us so that our minds are appropriately shaped to be aligned to the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

Judges 1:27 – Driving sin out from your life….

Judges 1:27 “Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages…”

What is the result of not driving out the inhabitants of the land? The Israelites end up living in close proximity to pagan influences and practices. The people spent time interacting and getting influenced by a culture that they were told to drive out. Soon, they even inter-married and started worshipping pagan idols. It started with a seemingly harmless situation. But soon it became a disaster for Israel.

Is that the situation in your life? Perhaps a little sin was left lingering. And soon, it took control of every part of your life, one sin led to another. Beware that large compromises often start as little excuses. A forest fire starts as a spark. Therefore, remember! A little sin is NOT ok! Drive it out before it leads to your destruction.

Num 11:1 – God does not delight in our murmuring…

“Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.”‭‭Num ‭11:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
God knows what He is providing for us and why it is best for us. When we complain against Him, we are in effect saying that God is not doing us good. It is a rebellion against His sovereignty; it is an expression of disrespect. 

It is obvious that not all providences will be a delight to our flesh. The Israelites encountered hardship when they started their journey. Let us not belittle this. The conditions of their journey may not be what we can imagine using our modern day minds. 

The lesson here is that when we encounter “frowning” providences, we are meant to turn our eyes to God – to look to Him and commune with Him to understand His purpose in designing these things which disturb our peace. It is through these wrestling in prayer that we draw near to Him. It is through these that we may learn to find our source of delight and hope in Him and not in the temporal satisfactions that our heart desire. Then we can say like the Apostle Paul “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:” ‭- Phil‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬. 

Are you murmuring against any providences today? May God help us see His merciful hand in all things that He brings to pass. Let us find our source of comfort in His sovereign hand who “..works all things for the good of His people”.