Trust God in Times of Pressure

 

Alternate Title: The Wages of Sin in Real Life

 

Sunday School Lesson for May 25, 2003

 

Background Passage: 1 Kings 21:1-22:53

 

Focal Teaching Passages: 1 Kings 21:16-28; 22:29-40

 

Note to Readers: Due to an out of town trip early in the week, this lesson outline is significantly abbreviated. I have placed most of the emphasis upon the application of the text. With next week’s lesson, things should get back to normal.  You will also note that I have suggested an alternate title that is more in line with the direction I am taking in my comments. Blessings!

 

Naboth’s Vineyard and Ahab’s Sin (21:16-28)

 

There are several significant points to consider and apply in light of the tragic story of Naboth’s vineyard (21:1-16). 

 

One (21:5-10): Carefully observe how Ahab, in a pathetic state of covetousness regarding the vineyard, listened to the advice and counsel of his wife Jezebel. Note particularly her interesting tactic in verse 7.  Do you think that Ahab would have conceived of such a plan on his own (vv. 8-14), or would have progressed so deeply into sin without the prompting of his wife? Think about some of the key spiritual lessons that develop from this episode.  Hint—Consider, for example, how this may be applied to seeking advice from the wrong people, being unduly influenced by others, having no strong convictions, and being afraid to stand up for that which you know is right.

 

Two:  Can you think of two other noteworthy men of the Bible who acted in a strikingly similar way—they listened to the prompting of their wives and fell into great sin against God that resulted in severe consequences?  Hint—Both are found in the book of Genesis. There is an obvious lesson here for those in positions of authority and responsibility. What is it?

 

Three (21:20):  Note the words of Ahab to Elijah when the prophet, under the leadership of the Lord, went to confront the king—“So you have found me, my enemy!” (Compare the NIV translation and that of the NASB that renders this statement as a question—“Have you found me, O my enemy?”).  What lessons concerning sin are readily apparent in this episode?  Hint—Think about three key words: discovery, confrontation, and judgment. 

 

Four (21:20, 22, 25-26): What specific sins did Elijah identify in Ahab’s life—sins that led to the judgment of God upon his house (v. 29)?  What is the recurring theme in these verses? 

 

Five (21:27):  How do you interpret the interesting reaction of Ahab to the words of the prophet?  Does this surprise you at all?  Next, consider how the Lord responded to Ahab’s actions in verses 28-29.  There are some apparent lessons about grace, mercy, and humility here. Can you identify them?

 

 

The Death of Ahab (22:29-40)

 

Note the peculiar circumstances surrounding the battlefield death of Ahab (vv. 34-37). Was this a simple coincidence, a totally “random” event (v. 34), or something else?  What may be learned from this account of the king’s demise?  Hint—Think about the previous words of the prophet in 21:21—“I am going to bring disaster upon you.”  How does this relate to the absolute certainty of God’s Word and His judgment upon sin?