Jump Start # 2595
1 Kings 16:31 “And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshipped him.”
Our verse today is the beginning of the reign of Ahab. And, we might as well be honest and say, the reign of Jezebel, for in many ways she ran the country. She forged letters. She put out death messages. She was more to be feared than Ahab. And, it is here that we see the downward spiral of the leader of God’s people and the tragic departure from God.
Ahab made three mistakes:
Ahab worshipped the wrong god. He served Baal. In a couple of chapters, Elijah will show how useless, pitiful and ineffective Baal was. Baal couldn’t send rain. He couldn’t stop a drought. He couldn’t send fire. He couldn’t hear the cries of his prophet. Baal was about as alive and helpful as a rock.
Ahab married the wrong person. Jezebel was wicked. She was a pagan. She was the daughter of a ungodly king. The law of Moses forbade marrying outside the nation. Many kings did. And, when they did, it cost them. Beginning with Solomon, these foreign women who had no interest in Jehovah, pulled their weak and faithless husbands to follow them into idolatry, child sacrifice and oppressing the people of God. Who you marry can make all the difference in the world spiritually. Even today, this same lesson is repeated. Moms and dads are so happy to see their child marry someone who is good looking, has a great job and has a great education. Even though this person may have zero interest spiritually, or worse, embrace things that are false and contrary to God’s word. Then when their child quits walking with the Lord, the parents seemed surprised and shocked. Why? Marrying Jezebel is a bad idea.
Ahab had the wrong attitude about sin. Ahab thought lightly of sin. Sin didn’t bother him. The text says, “it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam.” A trivial thing. We remember the game, “Trivial Pursuit.” The pursuit of what is trivial. To consider sin trivial means it did not bother him. Guilt didn’t follow what he did. His conscience didn’t warn him. He didn’t feel bad about what he was doing. We’d say, “It was no big deal to him.” And, that is concerning. That is a big deal that he thought it was no big deal. It bothers us that sin didn’t bother him. It should have. There should have been all kinds of red flags and warnings that grabbed his attention. But he ignored those. He never payed attention to those things. Sin wasn’t sinful to him. And, because of that, Ahab sank deeper and deeper into trouble with God. Certainly, he could make sin trivial, but that doesn’t mean God does. Certainly, a person can ignore God, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist.
Now some thoughts:
First, sin is a big deal. It always has been. Much too often we think something is only wrong because of the consequences. Murder is a big deal because someone’s life is now over. But telling a lie? Not too much harm, so not so bad. In a pick up game of basketball, there is a saying, “No blood, no foul.” That translates to mean not every little bump is going to be called a foul. A lot of stuff is going to be allowed. Only the obvious fouls, where there is blood, will be called.
Consider the first sin, eating forbidden fruit. No one really got hurt. What’s the big deal? God said No and Satan said Yes. Sin is a big deal. It will wreck our soul, separate us from God and without the forgiving blood of Jesus, we will be lost eternally. For eating some fruit? No. For, disobeying God. For placing yourself in God’s position. For listening and trusting Satan. It’s never ok to do wrong. Even if you do not get caught, it’s not ok. Even if you only do it one time, it’s not ok. We must stop trivializing sin.
Second, we can trivialize worship. We can make worship so casual that we fail to be in awe of God. We can make it so much about us, that God is left out. We can think singing doesn’t matter. God thinks it does. We can believe that sermons can be left out. You won’t find God agreeing with that. We can even make attendance trivial. Come if you want. And, if you don’t want to, it’s ok. God thinks otherwise. He wants His people together to worship. Great things happen when we are together. God knows that. Encouragement, help, love, connections all come from our fellowship. We are the family of God and families need to be together. We ought to miss each other. We ought to long to be with each other. Worship or ballgame? Worship or watching TV? Worship or mowing the yard? Trivialize…have we trivialized worship?
Third, we can trivialize our marriage. We can just take it for granted. We can ignore each other and not connect in a way that is healthy, growing and beneficial. Jezebel pulled Ahab further away from God. It wasn’t all her fault. He was going that way already. He was weak, indifferent and unconcerned about the way of God. We can make more fun of each other than we do nourish and help each other. We can ignore warning signs of communication and actually hurt each other. Instead of being a help to one another, we can become the major source of hurt. Our marriage is important. It is sacred. It is special. It needs to be protected, guarded and strengthened. Love is a bond that can forgive, aid and support.
Ahab thought nothing about sin. The real truth is, Ahab thought nothing about God. It showed. And, in the end, it cost him.
Grand lessons for us to remember and to help get our order in order, especially in these times.