Read chapter in full: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=1Kings+020
CHAPTER 20 (ESV)
29 And they encamped opposite one another seven days. Then on the seventh day the battle was joined. And the people of Israel struck down of the Syrians 100,000 foot soldiers in one day. 30 And the rest fled into the city of Aphek, and the wall fell upon 27,000 men who were left.
Ben-hadad also fled and entered an inner chamber in the city. 31 And his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.” 32 So they tied sackcloth around their waists and put ropes on their heads and went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘Please, let me live.’” And he said, “Does he still live? He is my brother.” 33 Now the men were watching for a sign, and they quickly took it up from him and said, “Yes, your brother Ben-hadad.” Then he said, “Go and bring him.” Then Ben-hadad came out to him, and he caused him to come up into the chariot. 34 And Ben-hadad said to him, “The cities that my father took from your father I will restore, and you may establish bazaars for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.” And Ahab said, “I will let you go on these terms.” So he made a covenant with him and let him go.
35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow at the command of the Lord, “Strike me, please.” But the man refused to strike him.
42 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.’” 43 And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria.
- Please read this whole chapter, at least vv29-43 to get a clear picture of the story.
- When desperate, Ahab was eager for God’s help and direction. With the battles won, Ahab quickly reverted to his arrogant ways. Ahab had been commanded to kill Ben-Hadad. When Ahab was rebuked he did not repent but became “sullen and angry”.
- In v 31, the Hebrew root word for “merciful” is the same word used to describe the “steadfast love” that God has for Israel and that God desires from Israel (8:23). Ahab has practiced this loyal love with his enemy, forgetting love for God.
- When the danger is past, too many revert to their old attitudes and ways. It is not what we know about God that counts. What counts is how we respond to Him once we know.
Sing or read slowly this old hymn asking God, “Is it I?” by Amy Carmichael
Many crowd the Savior’s kingdom, few receive his cross; many seek his consolation, few will suffer loss for the dear sake of the master, counting all but dross.
Many sit at Jesus’ table, few will fast with him; when the sorrow-cup of anguish trembles to the brim, few watch with Him in the garden, who have sung the hymn.
Many will confess his wisdom, few embrace his shame; many, should he smile upon them, will his praise proclaim; then, if for a while He leaves them, they desert his name.
But the souls who love him truly, let woe come or bliss, these will count their dearest hearts’ blood not their own, but His. Savior, thou who thus hast loved me, give me love like this.
“Many Crowd the Savior’s Kingdom” – www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4UT8oIjWss