1 Kings 20:1-12 slowly and repeatedly.
Main content of the text: Benhadad, leading the army of Aram, besieges Samaria. However, Ahab cannot discern which path to take.
Verses 1-3 Aram has already attacked northern Israel and taken control of the northern territory (15:19,20), but this time, Benhadad (a different character from Benhadad in Chapter 15) even leads his allies and pressures the capital Samaria. He says he will make Israel a vassal nation and demands King Ahab to surrender. Israel did not fear God and worshiped not only Baal and Asherah but also all kinds of idols, but those idols could never protect Israel.
Verse 4 Even though Ahab vividly experienced the fact that Jehovah, not Baal, is the true God through the Mount Carmel incident, he did not ask God when a crisis came.That doesn’t mean I asked for help from an idol. He calls Benhadad ‘my lord’ and fears Benhadad more than God. Idols were also just beings that helped him only when he needed to make a living.
Verses 5, 6 Benhadad is not satisfied with Ahab’s promise of tribute, and suddenly (“about this time tomorrow”) he sends his men to search through the palace and the houses of his servants and threatens to take away things that King Ahab considers valuable. A world that does not know God does not know satisfaction. Without compassion for the weak, the strong only recognize each other among themselves and try to coexist at the expense of the weak.
Verses 7-10 Ahab has no authority as a king, no wisdom, and no sense of purpose. When the subjects objected to the excessive demands of Benhadad, whom he called ‘Lord,’ Ahab followed their wishes and conveyed his refusal to Benhadad. Benhadad threatens to destroy Saramira and make the pile of rubble disappear so that no one can pick it up. After killing the prophets, driving out Elijah, and worshiping Baal and Asherah, Israel, which had made a covenant with the Lord God Almighty, became a laughing stock to the Gentile nations.
Verses 11-12 Ahab boasts, saying, “Don’t boast as if the war is over when it hasn’t even started,” and Benhadad boasts by enjoying a drink in the tent even after ordering the war (20:16). Unlike the audacity of worldly leaders who have left God, war does not bring victory to anyone.
Community Prayer – Lord, help us abandon the foolishness of neglecting God and restore our reverence.
Prayer for the nations – In Tanzania, a barren land, the gospel and church are taking root while reclaiming land and expanding farms. Let us pray for the Church in Tanzania to experience the vitality of the Gospel in all areas of life.