Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Year 7, Day 361: 1 Kings 20

Theological Commentary: Click Here

I’m going to start with a fairly obvious point here in this chapter.  God doesn’t seem to be as bothered by human violence as much as we think He is and make Him out to be.  After all, God twice ordains that the Hebrew people beat back the army that comes upon the Israelites.  Over a hundred thousand people die in a result that God ordains.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that God brings in the enemies so that they would die – although there are stories in the Old Testament like the Assyrian occupation that do teach this lesson.  I am saying that God doesn’t seem to have an issue with allowing human beings who are bent on violence to meet the consequence that they seek.

In fact, this leads us to a deeper lesson.  Do you hear what happens at the end of this chapter?  King Ahab spares Ban-Hadad.  You would think that such an act of grace would find favor, although it is possible to argue that this has more to do with tribute than grace.  Whatever Ahab’s reason, God doesn’t approve.  God is furious that Ahab allowed Ben-Hadad to live!  God ordained Ben-Hadad’s death and Ahab goes against God’s wish.

There are several lessons to learn here.  First, let’s acknowledge that we shouldn’t go against what God ordains.  When God ordains something to happen, we should be obedient.  If we don’t, there will be consequences.

Second, God is bigger than the box we would care to put Him in.  For the vast majority of time, God does appreciate grace, mercy, and compassion.  However, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a side that ordains judgment, consequence, or even death.  After all, will not this world end in judgment and destruction before the next world is created and set in motion?  God is larger than our box.  God’s righteousness is larger and has far more dimensions than our understanding of righteousness.