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A sentence was next passed on Jezebel his wife, “Of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, the dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.” The spot where she was to die was also to be one that should bring to mind her guilt, and show the justice of the Lord in avenging innocent blood.
The effect of this sentence on Ahab's mind is striking, as also the result of his partial repentance. “It came to pass when Abab heard these words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house."
Looking back, then, at the beginnings of Ahab's sin, let the first lesson we draw be this, that a person who lets another sin for bim, is as guilty as if he did the deed himself. Ahab lying on his couch, grieving because he had not got the vineyard he wanted, was in fact as guilty as his wife, who was using his name and seal, and telling people to get Naboth murdered. And yet persons are very apt to think they are free from the guilt of a wicked action, because they do not take a more active part in it than knowing of it, and leaving others alone who do it for them. Sometimes a parent will thus let a child steal, or become a lying beggar for them, and they will shut their eyes to the child's doings, because they are glad of the result of them. And they think that they themselves are not the guiltiest party. It would be well for all such to remember Ahab's case.
There are other cases in Scripture history teaching the same thing. The first sin in the world, Adam was accused of, and punished for, although it was his wife who took the fruit and gave it to him. David was counted as guilty of the death of Uriah, whom he sent to fall in the field of battle, as if he had himself taken a sword and slain him. Pilate was a partaker of the guilt of the crucifixion, although he wished to let Jesus go, as he found no fault in Him, and only yielded to satisfy the Jews.
Besides, too, we may not only sin by shutting our eyes to sins others commit, but also by not using our best endeavours to prevent crimes which we know others are accomplishing. Ahab might
Ahab might surely have restrained his wife; and at the least he
would not have been guilty had he done all in his power to prevent her doing as she did.
But for another lesson, do we not here see the immense influence a wicked wife has over a weak husband, and therefore the dreadful consequences of marrying without a thought about the character of the person we unite ourselves to for life?
Ahab's character is painted in the blackest colours possible. But all is traced up to his wife. “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” One of his greatest sins was idolatry. And where did he learn to love and worship false gods, but from his wife who was an idolatress when he married her. “He took to wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal and worshipped him.” This too was directly contrary to the commandment given to the Israelites when God first gave them the promised land. Of the heathen nations God had said to Moses, “ Neither shalt thou make marriages with them......for they will turn away thy son from following me that they may serve other gods.” (Deut. vii. 3, 4.)
Oh! the evil of marriages in which only beauty, or rank, or riches, or carnal affections
are the attractions, and in which there is no fear of God, no religious feelings to cement the union! If evil communications between friends corrupt good morals, how much more when between husband and wife!
A partner for life, a fellow-traveller, always with us, how great the influence for bad or for good! Every such companion is either a help or a hindrance. Either they help us on towards God and heaven, or hindering and preventing us they turn us
be as in Ahab's case, they lead us by the hand, so that we travel more quickly down the broad road that leadeth to hell. Nor will it be an excuse for guilt, to say we were led away by others, or even to say "it was not I that sinned, it was my partner," if we all the time were silently assenting to the sins.
What then must we do to avoid such evil influences? If unmarried, remember in the choice of a partner, how much depends for our weal or our woe.
To marry in the Lord must be our aim. To be guided by God, our prayer. To be sincere and honest in committing our ways to the Lord, and not praying with the idol set up in our hearts, and so tempting the Lord to only answer us according to our idols.
Or if married, how earnest our endeavours and frequent our prayers, we may be communicators of good to one another. That God and our partner may point and lead us in the same direction; but if from unhappy causes it be not so, then that we may have wisdom and grace to follow God's way and not he drawn aside from it, even by our bosom friend.
Withal too, let us learn from Ahab's case, to check the first beginnings of covetous wishes. To want what we have not and what God withholds from us, may be a worm at the root of all our happiness, or may prove as with Ahab the first step in a series of crimes. God has said, and said it for our happiness, "Thou shalt not covet," and "be content with such things as ye have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii. 5.) Wants we must have as long as we are in this wilderness world. But having committed them to God, we must banish care. If prayer brings not the things we want, we are certainly better without them. God is not only All-powerful and can give, but is faithful and will give what is good for us. He may withhold it till we pray for it, to try our dependance on Him, but when He withholds it after that,