BAD TO WORSE
Lord, Your perfect joy and peace gives me comfort when I see wickedness increasing.
Read 1 Kings 16:23–34
23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents[a] of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.
25 But Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.
27 As for the other events of Omri’s reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.
Ahab Becomes King of Israel
29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.
34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
a 1 Kings 16:24 That is, about 150 pounds or about 68 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSin is spreading in Israel. Notice the references to the Lord’s point of view in this passage.
Israel endured a set of regime-changes until Omri, an army general, imposed order. As the new king he used his power to relocate Israel’s capital to Samaria. He wasn’t afraid to bring change. But what about spiritual change? From Jeroboam’s time and onward, Israel’s devotion to God had faded. Would Omri change course? No. Instead he “sinned more than all those before him” (25).
Israel’s downward spiritual decline continued under Omri’s son, Ahab. Ahab reigned for more than two decades and he “did more to arouse the anger of the Lord” than had any of his predecessors. The list even included the infamous Jeroboam! Notice Jezebel’s role. As Ahab’s foreign wife—and a king’s daughter—she brought her own god, Baal, to her marriage. And she was soon the chief instigator in Israel’s apostasy. But King Ahab was still responsible for Israel’s spiritual life.
What about God’s responses? Some people today speak of the wrathful God in the Old Testament—as if God has an attitude problem. Does that charge fit your reading of this section?
Reports of spiritual failure in the Bible can be discouraging. Israel’s sins under Solomon and Jeroboam were now spiraling even more downward with Ahab. What does it take to reverse evil, both then and now?
Lord, make me an instrument of Your love and goodness.