God had instructed Elijah to anoint two kings and to select Elisha to take his place. At the end of chapter 19, we find Elijah throwing his mantle on Elisha, thereby demonstrating that Elisha was to be Elijah’s successor.
We’re going to skip over chapter 20 because it doesn’t have anything to do with Elijah or Elisha. We’ll pick up the story again in chapter 21. This chapter contains a sordid tale of greed, self-pity, conspiracy, murder, and theft. And it demonstrates the truth repeated throughout the Bible—whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Ahab’s covetousness cost him and his wife their lives and destroyed Ahab’s entire dynasty.
This passage is the basis of one of the most famous sermons from the last 100 years—Payday Someday by RG Lee.
…from this [passage] we learn the power and certainty of God in carrying out His own retributive providence, that men might know that His justice slumbereth not. Even though the mill of God grinds slowly, it grinds to powder. Yes, the judgments of God often have leaden heels and travel slowly. But they always have iron hands and crush completely.
We can say a hearty “Amen” to that. No one can escape God’s judgement. And that is a major emphasis in this story.
But today I want to focus on something else from the passage. Instead of just walking through the plot/details, I want to focus on the character or attitudes of the individuals mentioned in the story.
Although this story comes from a time about 2500 years ago, the attitudes and characteristics we see here are still with us today. Human nature has not changed. These attitudes could even be true of us if we are not careful. If we want to avoid the outcome that Ahab and Jezebel experienced, we must avoid the kinds of attitudes and characteristics we see in them. Actually, there are both bad and good characteristics in this passage.