In Living Like a King, Richard Rohlin will be examining the kings of Israel and Judah during the Divided Kingdom period. He’ll look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, and from them we’ll learn together what kind of men we ought – or ought not – to be.
“And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.” (1Ki 16:30)
As of this last Friday, my daughter, Tirza, is just six weeks old. This past weekend we took her for her first serious roadtrip when we went out of town for a family member’s wedding. As the bride came down the aisle, it was hard not to look down at the little girl I held in my arms and wonder if that would be my daughter some twenty years hence. I think most dads with daughters will agreewith me that no thought is quite so terrifying.
What kind of woman will she be? Who will she marry? Will it be someone who is good for her – a man who will lead her in a loving and Christlike fashion? Will I have the discernment to know the good men from the charletons and fakes? I pray that I will. But while I am uncertain about many things regarding my daughter’s future and my role in it, I am certain of one thing: I do not want her to marry an Ahab, nor do I want her to be a Jezebel.
So Tirza, if you’re reading this, all those years from now, this one’s for you.
You probably already know about Ahab and Jezebel. You know that they were bad people. In fact, when your mother and I chose your name, there was a long list of names from which we could chosen – but Jezebel never even made the list. It’s synonymous today with a wicked and morally loose woman, and there’s a good reason for that. The original Jezebel set a precedent for wickedness that has ruined the name for any future Jezebels who came after her.
Ahab wasn’t any saint, either. In 1 Kings, we read that Ahab did more evil than any of the kings that were before him. It actually goes into more detail than that, because we see that Ahab knew he was evil and he took pleasure in it, his depraved heart constantly looking for more ways to sin.
And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. (1Ki 16:31)
Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel is listed as one of the greatest and most aggregious of his sins – and there’s a good reason for that. Marriage changes you in ways that nothing else will. If you marry well, as I believe I have, then it will be a wonderful blessing that will draw you closer to God in ways unexplainable to a single person. But if you, as a woman, marry an Ahab (or for a man, a Jezebel), it will equally define your life for the worse.
One of the things that a spouse will do is amplify everything aspect of your personality. That is, a good spouse will draw out the good things and make them more so, and a bad spouse will do the same with the bad things. In Ahab’s case, he was already a wicked and idolatrous man, but it was through Jezebel that Baal-worship would first be introduced to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. On the other hand, a good spouse should make you more Christ-like; they are one of the tools that God uses in the process of sanctification.