No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. 1 Kings 21:25I know I've read this sentence before, probably many times, but as I read it today, it was as though I'd never seen it. What horrible legacies - for Ahab and Jezebel.
Ahab, according to this verse, was more completely "sold out" to evil than any other person in history. That means he even beats Hitler for the title of "Most Insane Madman of All Time". Wow. I generally put Adolf at the bottom of the barrel, if you know what I mean. First Kings 16:25 says Omri, Ahab's father, "did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him." Five verses later in 1 Kings 16:30, Ahab has out-done his dad: "But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him." However, none of the succeeding kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel are recorded by Scripture as being worse than Ahab. In fact, although none of them led Israel back to God, a few are remembered in this way:"He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but not to the same extent as the kings of Israel who ruled before him" (2 Kings 17:2).
Ahab's legacy - the guy who was committed to evil more than everyone or anyone else.
And then there's Jezebel. I always think of her as the only person Ahab had in his life, and thus, because of loneliness, he was easily influenced by her (besides Elijah, whose job was to tell him how wrong he was). But I read today he had seventy sons (2 Kings 10:1). Clearly, he had some other "relationships" that could have had an impact on his character. Yet, it was her influence to which he submitted. I can't begin to imagine what an overpowering personality she must have had, how domineering and demanding she was. Yet, there's a creepy sense of twisted loyalty to him that must have maintained his attraction to her. Case in point: when Ahab wants a piece of property, she arranges for the owner to be falsely accused and murdered so her husband can take possession of the land. How touching. And I thought I wanted pearls for our wedding anniversary.
For 22 years these two reigned with terror, duplicity and wickedness. It begs the question: "Why would God allow them to be on the throne for so long?" I think the answer is two-fold. First, God sent Elijah and other prophets to redirect Ahab and the kingdom back to himself, but their efforts were declined. Second, while we might want to blame Ahab and Jezebel for all the "bad," they were merely the leaders. The nation chose to follow them. And a nation indulgent in its life of sin will at some point endure the consequences of its behavior. Just as God set the law of gravity in motion, the law of consequences must result, too. True, the same God who set out those laws can supercede them at any time, but it doesn't mean he will or should.
Much has been written about the US's moral decline since the 1950s and Rock n' Roll. The 60s and the introduction of the drug culture, the 70s and the dissolution of the family, the 80s and the advent of parachute pants (Hey, I'm a child of the 80s; they were a great time except for the hair), the 90s and the decay of tradition.... But the truth is we live in a fallen world that has been this way for a long time. Prostitution existed even before Jesus was born. Murder has an ancient history (see Cain and Abel). Abandonment and abuse of family are not new phenomenon.
So while I'd love to see our nation revive to believe and live out the motto of "One Nation Under God," the fact is our Judeo-Christian foundations are rotting away. Not because of one person or party in office, but because sinful humanity exists, corrupting and dismantling the principles of truth and holiness.
So where does that leave us?
I can't "fix" the government, the state, the county, the city, or even my street. But I can fix things at my address and within my heart. When I read about Ahab and Jezebel I can't help but wonder what would be said about me if the pages of Scripture were still being written. I hope it would say: "No one else so completely sold herself to what was right in the Lord’s sight as Julie did under the influence of the Holy Spirit" 1 Ideals 1:1.
God, make that my legacy.