The Final Opportunity

The Final Opportunity
Robert Wurtz II

And Ahab said to Elijah: ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ And he answered: ‘I have found thee; because thou hast given thyself over to do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD. (1 Kings 21:20)


But there was none like unto Ahab, who did give himself over to do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. (1 Kings 21:25)


Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:20–22 KJV)


When the events of 1 Kings 21 were happening the Assyrians, those diabolical agents of cruelty, were on Israel’s doorstep. The only thing standing between them and Israel was the mercy of God. Yet, here we have Ahab insulting Elijah, a man of whom he was not worthy to have ever met. This was Elijah — the great prophet of the Old Testament after whom signs and wonders followed in unparalleled ways. For example, he prayed and the heavens shut up for three and a half years. He called fire down from Heaven and raised the dead. (1 Kings 17:22) Yet Ahab and his wicked wife greatly withstood this man of God.


God Not Mocked


Some might wonder (in the words of the late Leonard Ravenhill) why God had not built a special compartment in hell for Ahab and Jezebel where He turned the temperature up. After all the men of God she killed one wonder how she was not judged swiftly. But there is no need to worry about it, because the judge of all the earth will do right. (Genesis 18:25) God wanted this man and his evil wife to repent. (2 Peter 3:9) This is one of the reasons why He bears with careless sinners. 

We read about Jesus in the Revelation dealing with what some have called a “Jezebel Spirit” in the church at Thyatira. Jesus gave “that woman” what He called “‘a space to repent,’ but she repented not.” (Revelation 2:21) The church refused to deal with her so God did. However, Ahab was blinded. His blindness was so complete that he viewed his true enemies as good and submitted to their influence — while viewing those that were God-sent and good as enemies and shunned their counsel. This is what happens when leaders are under the blinding influence of a demonic force that resides in a loved one. They are thoroughly blinded by them.



God explains this when he states, But there was none like unto Ahab, who did give himself over to do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. (1 Kings 21:25) The word here for “stirred up” (cuwth) comes from the idea of persuading, prodding or enticing a person to do something. Most women wield a tremendous influence over their husbands. Jezebel used her influence to exercise Ahab’s authority for her own will — thus she was known as a usurper. She prodded him to do evil like the thorns and briars in the book of Hebrews who are rejected and nigh unto cursing whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8) Or in the words of the Revelation, Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:22) 

Imposing Appearances

Jezebel had a reputation for destroying the prophets of God. (1 Kings 18:4) When Elijah heard she had threatened his life he fled from her. (1 Kings 19:1-9) This is amazing given the fact that he had just experienced a great victory over the prophets of Baal. It would seem that Elijah had become confused on a point and I think this was brought about because he misinterpreted God’s allowing Jezebel to destroy many of the prophets. God was not under Jezebel’s spell. He does things for His own reasons and is not subject to men even though the enemy would like to spin events to look that way. God was not impressed by the way she doctored her eyes with makeup to both seduce and impose upon men in order to control them.

To give an idea as to how effective this strategy was she tried to use it as a last ditch effort to save her life when Jehu came to destroy her. When he came to Jezreel and Jezebel heard of it, “she put her eyes into lead polish (i.e., painted them with it), and beautified her head and placed herself at the window.” This make-up is a very favorite eye-paint with Oriental women even to the present day. It is prepared from antimony ore (Arab. khΩl, Cohol or Stibium of the Arabs), which when pounded yields a black powder with a metallic brilliancy, which was laid upon the eyebrows and eyelashes either in a dry state as a black powder, or moistened generally with oil and made into an ointment, which is applied with a fine smooth eye-pencil of the thickness of an ordinary goose-quill, made either of wood, metal, or ivory. The way to use it was to hold the central portion of the pencil horizontally between the eyelids, and then draw it out between them, twisting it round all the while, so that the edges of the eyelids were blackened all round; and the object was to heighten the splendour of the dark southern eye, and give it, so to speak, a more deeply glowing fire, and to impart a youthful appearance to the whole of the eyelashes even in extreme old age.

Rosellini found jars with eye-paint of this kind in the early Egyptian graves (vid., Hille, über den Gebrauch u. die Zusammensetzung der oriental. Augenschminke: Deutsch. morg. Ztsch. v. p. 236ff.).—Jezebel did this that she might present an imposing appearance to Jehu and die as a queen; not to allure him by her charms (Ewald, after Ephr. Syr.). (K&D) But it did not work. She had ran out of men she could intimidate and control. Jehu asked for some help and the men that were up with her cast her down so that her blood splattered on the wall and her body was mangled in the streets. All the while these events are going on the Assyrian Empire is gaining strength and preparing to exile the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Elijah’s Discouragement

God had to get Elijah back on his feet after his bout with this woman. The demonic force that was back of her had nearly wore the life out of him. These events are instructive. First let us observe the big picture. Satan was leading Northern Israel farther and farther away from God until they will soon pass into legend. God was sending prophets to halt the destruction, but men like Ahab were under Jezebel’s spell — seeing good as evil and evil as good. Undoubtedly this delusion was a fearsome judgment in itself, but God also made an example out of Ahab. He allowed his wife to stir him up to do evil so he (Ahab) was accountable. We are accountable for how we allow people to influence us. No blaming her. He listened to her and rejected the voice of reason (Elijah). Elijah received strength from the Lord as He got him back to doing his calling (anointing kings, etc. 1 Kings 19:16). Jezebel’s threats had succeeded in side-lining Elijah for a time.
Understand that Jezebel is a discouraging spirit that seeks to sideline men of God. Yet God warns of her finality, Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel. (2 Kings 9:36, 37)

That Woman Jezebel?

One of the most sobering things a person can do is to look at an ancient timeline. Listed over the years are the names of men and kingdoms and religions that come and go as time marches on. Consider the snapshot of a timeline below.






You will notice that Ahab (in blue) ruled from roughly 874 BC to 853 BC (22 years). Notice the two thin black lines sweeping upward towards Assyrian rule. This is where the Northern Kingdom was headed since Jeroboam started the people on a path to total annihilation. The righteous that lived in the Northern Kingdom migrated to Judah and many of the evil in Judah migrated to the Northern Kingdom.

If you notice it was around 853 BC that Jonah was called to preach to Nineveh, capitol city of the Assyrian Empire. These things are going on along almost parallel lines. The people of Nineveh repented of their ways for a time, but eventually went back. During the “went back” phase God used them to judge the Northern Kingdom. Ahab was oblivious to what God was doing as he was focused on what was important to him. He lived in the moment and with the advice of his evil wife did whatever he had to do to get his way.


Examples Unto Us

Someone might read how the dogs licked the blood of Ahab (1 Kings 21:19, 1 Kings 22:38) or how Jezebel was thrown from a tall building to burst asunder on the ground, blood splattering the walls and horses as she was trod under foot (2 Kings 9:33, 34) and wonder why these wicked people would meet such an end. Yet Paul reminds us, Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11) We are also told by Paul that Christians have the “earnest of their inheritance” whilst in this life as a foretaste of the greater life we can expect in the eternal future. Yet some evil people in this life, for the purposes of God (such as Pharaoh) are raised up as examples of God’s power for destruction of evil and wickedness. What did Ahab do to warrant such an end?


The Lesson of Naboth

And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. (1 Kings 21:2, 3)
Naboth was a man of principals and conviction. His property had been handed down as an inheritance; but Ahab believed the man’s heritage could be monetized. The tangible link with his past and family was this property. Ahab wanted it to add to his host of possessions, as he admitted, he had better lands than this. What did Ahab do? He went home to pout and make a big show for his wife Jezebel. She asked him, “Are you not the king of Israel?” This attitude is pagan and not of the kingdom of God.

In the world kings get what they want, but it was not so to be in Israel. Nevertheless, she told him, “Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” What did she do? She forged a document pretending to be the king and got Naboth set up to be lied against and stoned to death — him and his sons. (2 Kings 9:26) The result? And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. (1 Kings 21:15) It was all a wonderful plan. It seemed to have worked! Jezebel conspired to kill a good man, but at least she got Ahab his vineyard. After all, how dare anyone resist the will of the king, right? Not so fast. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. (1 Kings 21:17, 18) Ahab had gone down to collect the spoils. But he was not banking on one important factor; God was watching this whole thing play out. You Found Me, Again!

Now we have come to our text, And Ahab said to Elijah: ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ And he answered: ‘I have found thee; because thou hast given thyself over to do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD. (1 Kings 21:20) Notice that Ahab refers to Elijah, the man of God as his enemy. This admission tells us that he has postured himself as the enemy of God Himself. Nevertheless, God did two things. He allowed a lying spirit to enter Ahab’s prophets that thought they were speaking by the Spirit of God. They were not. So this lying spirit told Ahab to go up to the battle. But Ahab was suspicious, so he called Micaiah the Prophet and he told Ahab there was a lying spirit in their mouth. Ahab believed the lying spirit. Why? He was delusioned with sin and wanted to believe what he wanted to believe. When the Prophet Micaiah would not endorse his decision he had him imprisoned to be fed the bread of affliction. 

It is no different in modern times. Leaders, even within some churches, are under the delusion of demonic forces. Ahab’s prophets were energized by demons that could “simulate” the prophetic power of the Holy Spirit. The deceived prophets could no longer tell the difference between the Holy Spirit and an unclean spirit. 


Ahab disguised himself (for we know he was afraid that God would find him) and he went into the battle. What happened? 
But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. (1 Kings 22:34a ESV) Notice the anonymity and the destiny contained in this one verse.

I recall a minister say many years ago that had this nameless man shot the arrow in the opposite direction of Ahab, it would have turned around like a patriot missile and hit him right where God had said. No need to sit around biting fingernails wondering when God will set things right. He already had an arrow with Ahab’s name on it. God gave him and his evil wife a space to repent. He gave them a final opportunity. Yet we read, But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” (1 Kings 22:34 ESV) , so he could dumb himself down into total deception and perdition.

Before Whom I Stand (Coping with a Jezebel Spirit)

Before Whom I Stand
Robert Wurtz II

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (1 Kings 17:1 KJV)

Elijah was a great prophet of God who lived in a time of gross compromise in Israel. As this verse records, drought was used of God as a wake-up call to the nation. Moreover, God used the prophets as His “prosecuting attorneys” to call the people back to the terms of the Old Covenant. Notice verse 1 of 1 Kings 17:1 where we read that Elijah “stood before the LORD.” That is a way of saying that he ordered his life so as to always be at Jehovah’s (YHWH) service. His priority was serving God. His life was oriented so as to face towards God — with a clear conscience. One of the concepts of the presence of God really just means “eye to eye” or “face to face.” Elijah endeavored to live in such a way that nothing came between him and God. Hence, he “stood before Jehovah.” This attitude made him a mighty vessel in the hand of God. 


The enemy hates “Elijahs.” Consider John the Baptist a “type” of Elijah. Herod’s wife Herodias, tired of hearing John the Baptist rebuke her husband for his sin, plotted to have the man of God beheaded. Sure enough, it happened. John was a type of Elijah and Herodias was a “type” of Jezebel. 




Stirred Up 


But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. (1 Kings 21:25 KJV)

Ahab is one of the most evil men in the Old Testament. What was worse was his wife Jezebel “stirred him up.” Any time a woman stirs up her husband there is bound to be trouble, but Jezebel was worse in that she was a murderous woman. She made a name for herself by killing off Jehovah’s prophets. (1 Kings 18:4) Anytime there is a Jezebel around she will be looking to take out the true men of God and replace them with compromisers who try to straddle both God and the Devil (fence-riders). 

Jezebel is known for being a “usurper.” This means that she exercised authority in Israel that was not her’s to exercise. She did this through her weak husband Ahab, and later her weak sons. She was such a wicked woman that God judged her in a most horrific way. In the end she was thrown from a balcony and trampled under foot by horses until there was nearly nothing left. (2 Kings 9:33-35) In fact, there was only the skull, feet, and palms of her hands left when the undertakers came to bury her. When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’” (2 Kings 9:36–37 ESV)

Jezebel’s History


It is sometimes said that the nut never falls far from the tree. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon (1 Kings 16:31), formerly a priest of Astarte, and who had made his way to the throne by the murder of his predecessor Pheles. She lived in a time when the northern tribe of Israel was integrating Baal worship into their Jehovah worship (sound like today?). She even had 400 of her own prophets! Well, they were prophets of Baal. These would use either demon inspiration or they would simply “prophesy out of their own heart words that God has not spoken.” This came to a head prior to Babylon when God spoke through Jeremiah, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.” (Jeremiah 23:16, 21 KJV) These are sobering words. 

Exterminator of Prophets

Again, Jezebel tried to exterminate the true prophets of Jehovah (1 Kings 18:13), and inaugurated the worship of Baal the Sun-God. As we mentioned before, her father Ethbaal was a ruthless politician who murdered his competition for position in society. These are standard politics. Any time there is a political element to something there will be ungodly conflict and behavior. This is why Jesus strictly forbade politics in the churches. Men cannot rightly love one another when they are fighting over the same office or title. Sadly, when this happens in the Christian denominations men will slander one another and work against each other to gain political advantage. There can never be unity when preachers double as politicians. Selah. There can never be unity when men jockey for power and titles. 

In the time of Jesus the scribes and pharisees sat in Moses’ seat. They arrogated this role to themselves as they slowly became proficient at teaching the word to people — a job that was reserved for the priests. In modern times men love to set in Jesus’ seat (as it were). They want to arrogate to themselves authority that belongs to the Lord only. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, “Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23:6–7 NKJV) Notice they love titles. They want to be called by their title. “Rabbi, Rabbi, etc.” Jesus then adds, Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ (Matthew 23:10 NASB) Men want to set in that leader spot that belongs to Jesus, but we can’t allow it. No need for help from a theologian, a kindergartner can understand Matthew 23:10. 

Jezebel, learning the evil craft of back-room politics from her father Ethbaal, murdered to get what she wanted — just like he did. Her ego was so large that she defied anyone to cross her or her husband. When Naboth refused to sell Ahab his land, Jezebel conspired to have the man killed. She mocked Ahab as if to say, “Are you the king or not?” Her attitude was that the leader is king and the king gets what he wants. Consider also that she murdered the dissenting voices around her (the prophets) and sought to set herself up in effect as a prophetess. 

Jezebel in Modern Times

Books have been written to identify so-called “spirits of Jezebel” — some of which end up helping the “discerner” name just about anyone they don’t like as a “Jezebel spirit.” This is why we need the Bible. A careful reading of the Bible reveals that Naboth, Ahab, the prophets, and Elijah were not the only men who had to deal with a “Jezebel.” She makes her appearance in the New Testament as well. Speaking to Thyatira Jesus stated:

Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:20–22 NKJV)

You may wonder how a person could possibly teach and seduce people into fornication within the church. I’ll give you a possible scenario. Say that a young couple within the church are in a relationship. A “Jezebel” (the Devil’s matchmaker), calls one of the pair aside and “gives them a word” or “helps them get some discernment” that leads to a break up of the relationship. Down the road the young lady, who broke up with the young Christian man, starts fornicating with a rich Catholic guy, gets pregnant, and never returns to her church again. What happened? The Jezebel caused the couple to miss God’s will because she/he intruded into the couples’ personal business. The Jezebel, believing they were hearing from God (while actively resisting His dealings), taught and seduced God’s servants to commit sexual immorality. It may never be viewed this way, but this was the outcome of the false advice and influence. They fell in the faith and both backslid. When a Christian marries a non-Christian or any “unequally yoked” situation, they will almost always serve the compromiser or sinners’ god (whatever their god is). Is there any wonder God told them, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

   
Jezebel was a tool in the hand of the Devil in the time of Elijah and she still is today. She used her influence to work against the plan of God in Israel and she uses her influence to thwart God’s plans in the churches. If you look around and see great destruction and discouragement, you probably have a Jezebel or two (or more) working. Elijah became so dispirited by her antics that he went out and hid in a cave. He stopped “standing before the Lord.” This was the Devil’s plan! Satan hates it when people stand before the Lord. He sends his Jezebels out in droves and anyone else he can use to stop men from living in God’s will. 

What can be done? In a figure, the Jezebels of the churches need to be thrown down. Consider closely what Jesus said, Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel…” These people at Thyatira refused to deal with the Jezebel in their church. Perhaps they were too busy pointing fingers and calling each other Jezebel to know who the true Jezebel was? Nevertheless, God intervened. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. Not all sickness is a result of someones sin, but sometimes it is. When people (notice the plural in the word “those”) refuse to listen to God He is liable to cast them all into a sickbed — not so that they would repent, but because they refused to repent. 

We must be aware of these people in the world (and the churches) who are agents of Satan meant to turn us out of the way. At the least they will work to get our attention off of “standing before the Lord” and get us all riled, depressed, or turned to distractions. We have to stay pointed towards God and standing before him. Elijah went from standing before the Lord to running from Jezebel. It can happen. We can’t allow the Devil to tempt us to do it! Ignore the Jezebels if they are not being dealt with. Stay focused on what God is saying to you and on what God wants done through you. We are here to serve Him — not respond to all of Jezebel’s antics. Time proved that God dealt with Jezebel. If Elijah had known her end he probably wouldn’t have ran from her — he would have remained focused “standing before the Lord.” Likewise God is going to deal with the Jezebels of this present world. May we stand before the Lord in the months and years to come.      








‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’

‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ 
Robert Wurtz II

And Ahab said to Elijah: ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ And he answered: ‘I have found thee; because thou hast given thyself over to do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD. (1 Kings 21:20)

But there was none like unto Ahab, who did give himself over to do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. (1 Kings 21:25)

In August of this year I had the privilege of visiting the British Museum where artifacts from the Assyrian Empire are on display. These items date from roughly the 9th to the 6th century BC. As this empire was growing stronger and stronger the Northern Tribe of Israel, with the help of a series of diabolic leaders, was drifting farther and farther away from the one true God by serving the false gods of the pagans. The Assyrian’s were a barbarically cruel people of a merciless sort, readied to punish the wickedness of those that were once called by the name of God. Their savagery has been well documented in history as for starters they would impale and behead their enemies for sport. Here were these formidable agents of cruelty on Israel’s doorstep with the only thing standing between the two being the mercy of God. Yet, here we have Ahab mean-mouthing Elijah, a man of whom he was not worthy to have even met. Elijah was the great prophet of the Old Testament of whom signs and wonders followed in unparalleled ways. He prayed and the heavens shut up for 3 and a half years. He called fire down from Heaven and raised the dead. (1 Kings 17:22) Yet, Ahab and his wicked wife greatly withstood this man of God.

God not mocked

Some might wonder why God had not built a special compartment in Hell for Ahab and Jezebel where He turned the temperature up, but there is no need to worry about that because the judge of all the earth will do right. (Genesis 18:25) God wanted this man and his evil wife to repent and leave off his evil way. (2 Peter 3:9) We read about God in the Revelation dealing with a kindred spirit in the churches of God and giving ‘that woman’ what He called a space to repent, but she repented not. (Revelation 2:21) But Ahab was blinded. His blindness was so complete that he viewed his true enemies as good and submitted to their influence while viewing those that were God-sent and good as enemies and shunned their counsel. God explains this when he states, But there was none like unto Ahab, who did give himself over to do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. (1 Kings 21:25) The word here for ‘stirred up’ (cuwth) comes from the idea of persuading, prodding or enticing a person to do something. She used her influence to exercise Ahab’s authority for her own will- thus she us known as a usurper. She was as the thorns and briars in the book of Hebrews, rejected and nigh unto cursing whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8) Or in the words of the Revelation, Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:22) 

Imposing appearances

Jezebel had a reputation for destroying the prophets of God. (1 Kings 18:4) So when Elijah heard she had threatened his life he fled from her. (1 Kings 19:1-9) This is amazing given the fact that he had just experienced a great victory over the prophets of Baal. It would seem that Elijah had become confused on a point and I think this was brought about because he misinterpreted God’s allowing Jezebel to destroy many of the prophets. I have always told myself when pondering these events that no matter what God’s reasoning for allowing her to destroy good men it was not because he was an ‘Ahab’. That is to say, God was not under Jezebel’s spell. He does things for His own reasons and is not subject to men even though the enemy would like to spin events to look that way. God was not impressed by the way she doctored her eyes with makeup to both seduce and impose upon men in order to control them. To give an idea as to how effective this strategy was she tried to use it at last to save her life when Jehu came to destroy her. When Jehu came to Jezreel and Jezebel heard of it, “she put her eyes into lead polish (i.e., painted them with it), and beautified her head and placed herself at the window.” This make-up is a very favourite eye-paint with Oriental women even to the present day. It is prepared from antimony ore (Arab. khΩl, Cohol or Stibium of the Arabs), which when pounded yields a black powder with a metallic brilliancy, which was laid upon the eyebrows and eyelashes either in a dry state as a black powder, or moistened generally with oil and made into an ointment, which is applied with a fine smooth eye-pencil of the thickness of an ordinary goose-quill, made either of wood, metal, or ivory. The way to use it was to hold the central portion of the pencil horizontally between the eyelids, and then draw it out between them, twisting it round all the while, so that the edges of the eyelids were blackened all round; and the object was to heighten the splendour of the dark southern eye, and give it, so to speak, a more deeply glowing fire, and to impart a youthful appearance to the whole of the eyelashes even in extreme old age. Rosellini found jars with eye-paint of this kind in the early Egyptian graves (vid., Hille, über den Gebrauch u. die Zusammensetzung der oriental. Augenschminke: Deutsch. morg. Ztsch. v. p. 236ff.).—Jezebel did this that she might present an imposing appearance to Jehu and die as a queen; not to allure him by her charms (Ewald, after Ephr. Syr.). (K&D) But it did not work. She had ran out of men she could intimidate and control. Jehu asked for some help and the men that were up with her cast her down so that her blood splattered on the wall and her body was mangled in the streets. All the while these events are going on the Assyrian Empire is gaining strength and preparing to exile the Northern Kingdom of Israel. 

Elijah’s discouragement

God had to get Elijah back on his feet after his bout with this woman after the demonic principality that was back of her had nearly wore the life out of him. These events are instructive. First let us observe the big picture. Satan was leading Northern Israel farther and farther away from God until they will in time ‘pass into legend’. God is sending prophets to halt the destruction, but men like Ahab are under her spell seeing good as evil and evil as good. Undoubtedly this drunkenness of judgment is a fearsome judgment in itself, but God also made an example out of Ahab. He allowed his wife to stir him up to do evil so he was accountable. We are accountable for how we allow people to influence us. No blaming her. He listened to her and rejected the voice of reason (Elijah). Elijah received strength from the Lord as He got him back in the game doing his calling (anointing kings, etc. 1 Kings 19:16). Her threats had succeeded in side-lining Elijah for a time. Understand that Jezebel is a discouraging spirit that seeks to sideline men of God. Yet God warns of her finality, Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel. (2 Kings 9:36, 37)

That Woman Jezebel?

One of the most sobering things a person can do is to look at an ancient timeline. Listed over the years are the names of men and kingdoms and religions that come and go as time marches on. Consider the snapshot of a timeline below.

























You will notice that Ahab (in blue) ruled from roughly 874 BC to 853 BC (22 years). Notice the two thin black lines sweeping upward towards Assyrian rule. This is where the Northern Kingdom was headed since Jeroboam started the people on a path to total annihilation. The righteous that lived in the Northern Kingdom migrated to Judah and many of the evil in Judah migrated to the Northern Kingdom. If you notice it was about 853 BC that Jonah was called to preach to Nineveh, capitol city of the Assyrian Empire. These things are going on along almost parallel lines. The people of Nineveh repented of their ways for a time, but eventually went back. During the ‘went back’ phase God used them to judge the Northern Kingdom. Ahab was oblivious to what God was doing as he was so focused in on what was important to him. He lived in the moment and with the advice of his evil wife did whatever he had to do to get his way. 

Examples unto us


Someone might read how the dogs licked the blood of Ahab (1 Kings 21:19, 1 Kings 22:38) or how Jezebel was thrown from a tall building to burst asunder on the ground, blood splattering the walls and horses as she was trod under foot (2 Kings 9:33, 34); and wonder why these wicked people would meet such an end. Yet Paul reminds us, Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11) We are also told by Paul that Christians have the ‘earnest of their inheritance’ whilst in this life as a foretaste of the greater life we can expect in the eternal future. Yet also, some evil people in this life, for the purposes of God (such as Pharaoh) are raised up as examples of God’s power for destruction of evil and wickedness. Ahab and Jezebel exacted a tiny- almost immeasurably small portion of their inheritance for the world to see and remember from the pages of God’s Holy word. They are examples unto us. What did Ahab do to warrant such an end?

The lesson of Naboth


And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. (1 Kings 21:2, 3)

Naboth was a man of principals and conviction. His property had been handed down as an inheritance, but Ahab believed the man’s heritage could be monetized. The tangible link with his past and family was this property. Ahab wanted it to add to his host of possessions, as he admitted, he had better lands than this. What did Ahab do? He went home to pout and make a big show for his wife Jezebel. She asked him, “Are you not the king of Israel?” This attitude is pagan and not of the kingdom of God. In the world kings get what they want, but it was not so to be in Israel. Nevertheless, she told him, Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” What did she do? she forged a document pretending to be the king and got Naboth set up to be lied against and stoned to death. Him and his sons. (2 Kings 9:26) The result? And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. (1 Kings 21:15) It was all a wonderful plan. It seemed to have worked! Jezebel conspired to kill a good man, but at least she got Ahab his vineyard. After all, how dare anyone resist the will of the king, right? Wrong. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. (1 Kings 21:17, 18) Ahab had gone down to collect the spoils. But he was not banking on one important factor; God was watching this whole thing play out. 

You found me, again!

Now we have come to our text, And Ahab said to Elijah: ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ And he answered: ‘I have found thee; because thou hast given thyself over to do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD. (1 Kings 21:20) Notice that Ahab refers to Elijah, the man of God as his enemy. This admission tells us that he has postured himself as the enemy of God Himself. Nevertheless, God did two things. He allowed a lying spirit to enter Ahab’s prophets that thought they were speaking by the Spirit of God. They were not. So this lying spirit told Ahab to go up to the battle. But Ahab was suspicious, so he called Micaiah the Prophet and he told Ahab there was a lying spirit in their mouth. Ahab believed the lying spirit. Why? He was delusioned with sin and wanted to believe what he wanted to believe. When the Prophet Micaiah would not endorse his decision he had him imprisoned to be fed the bread of affliction. Ahab disguised himself (for we know he was afraid God word would find him) and he went into the battle. What happened? But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. (1 Kings 22:34a ESV) Notice the anonymity and the destiny contained in this verse. I recall a minister say many years ago that had this nameless man shot left the arrow would have turned around like a patriot missile and hit Ahab right where God had said. No need to sit around biting fingernails wondering when God will set things right. He already had an arrow with Ahab’s name on it. God gave him and his evil wife a space to repent. Yet we read, But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” (1 Kings 22:34 ESV) There was a space to repent and there was a space for God’s final judgment. A sobering end to a man that lived to be lied to, so he could dumb himself down into total deception and perdition. 

    

   

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: