1. "When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. " (1Kgs 18:17-18).
Ahab blamed everyone but himself for his difficulties. Here his disobedience has led to God allowing three years of drought in the land, but it was "not his fault." Our culture is big on blaming everything and everyone else, from parents to society to some neurosis that means, "I couldn't help it." In the spiritual realm I have heard people blame the church for their children leaving, blame teachers for their lack of Bible knowledge, blame elders for disciplining the wayward as the scriptures plainly say they ought. I have even heard people say they don't know who is to blame, but it certainly is not them. Accountability is a hallmark of maturity. These people have none of either.
2. "And he said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’” And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria. " (1Kgs 20:42-43).
Once again Ahab has failed in his obedience to God, so God sends a message of rebuke. Does he repent? Does he give an apology for exactly what he has done wrong? No, he goes home "resentful and angry" (HCSB). Resentful and angry never has found forgiveness with God. God expects His disciplined child to come to Him with humility and genuine remorse. Once again Ahab has failed.
3. "And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. " (1Kgs 21:4).
Everyone knows this story, how Ahab coveted the vineyard belonging to Naboth. It was a matter of the inheritance laws, not just stubbornness. Israelites simply could not go around selling their property willy-nilly, even if it was the king who wanted it. So what does Ahab do? Lie on the bed and pout and whine and refuse to eat. A king, mind you. This man wasn't even king material!
Have you seen grown men do the same? I have. It isn't pretty. In fact, it is downright embarrassing to be around, and you wonder why that man doesn't feel embarrassed himself.
4. And then when the pouting is over, just as Jezebel used the Law of God to get rid of Naboth by hiring false witnesses to testify against him, I have seen people suddenly begin to quote scripture, wresting it to fit their situation in attempt to justify themselves and condemn those who are trying to win them back. You have never seen such hermeneutic corkscrewing in a blatant attempt to excuse oneself.
Judge not that you be not judged is a favorite. Meanwhile, the same person judges you for daring to try to correct him. Suddenly you are a hypocrite and traitor. Anyone messing with the sacred Word of God had better be careful.
5. Then, of course, we have Ahab allowing his wife to go to any lengths, including murder, to give him what he wants. Does it matter that it is sinful? No, not as long as he gets his way. When he doesn't get it, see #3.
6. And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son's days I will bring the disaster upon his house.” (1Kgs 21:27-29).
Finally, it seems, someone has reached the heart of this evil man. Even God is impressed with his repentance. So what happens next? Steadfastness and commitment are not his strong suits. In and out, up and down, his faith is nothing more than an EKG of his emotions, all of which depend upon whether or not he can do as he pleases rather than take up his cross and follow the Lord he once claimed.
7. And then, in chapter 22 he becomes angry with the prophet of God and throws him in prison. He doesn't like the message so away with the messenger. You are no longer his friend and he will heap abuse on you daily, including name-calling and false accusations. The harder you try, the more he will refuse you, accusing you of being the Devil's tool in discouraging him ("poor little me"), when he is doing a bang-up job of doing that to you himself.
I am positive you have seen this man. He throws a fit when corrected, runs people out of his house, gets rid of the preacher if he possibly can, creates a faction in the church, whatever it takes to rid himself of anyone who dares to tell him he is wrong and must change.
And notice this, through six and a half chapters, Ahab never improves. The one time he actually seems to repent, it is short-lived. Commitment is a foreign concepts to him, but then you wouldn't expect it of a child either. But most children (except Peter Pan) want to grow up. This one thinks no one has any right to expect him to show improvement. It is perfectly fine, just as Ahab thought, to keep falling the same way again and again, and still be accepted by God and his people.
Look back at those underlined phrases. Do you see why I call him a spoiled brat? A big baby? This isn't a man of God—it isn't even a man. Men of God have accountability and self-control, they repent with humility and remorse, they accept those who correct them with love, and never use the Law of God in an attempt to get away with sin. They wouldn't be caught dead whining and pouting like a little kid and they show improvement through the days and weeks and months of their growth as Christians.
I know "children of God" has a special meaning in our relationship with the Father. But for this morning, think about it this way. Getting rid of these characteristics is how "children" of God become "men and women" of God.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (Col 1:28).