This is a rather interesting chapter.
The protagonist is king Ahab. And in this chapter, he actually was used by God to lead Israel to an unlikely victory against Syria! If this is your first time reading this story, I am sure you are wondering how is it that God would use him .. especially after all the bad and evil things he had done in the previous chapters.
But here he was… leading, fighting and emerging victorious against all odds… with God at his side. I will not repeat the story again for it is quite straight forward but there were a few phrases that caught my eye.
This was a question posed by Ahab. But before Ahab asked this question, there was a prophet who came to Ahab and delivered this promise from God.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’”
~ 1 Kings 20:13
It was a marvelous promise. Something so totally unexpected and so generous.
Israel, led by Ahab, had rejected God time and time again and turned to idolatry. They deserved punishment and abandonment by God.
Yet here was God stretching out His hand of mercy – promising to fight for them – and to show them once again who was the One True God. It is quite mind blowing to think that despite what Ahab witnessed at Mount Carmel – where the pagan god Baal was soundly defeated and the great rains that came after there was a drought for 3.5 years – Ahab was still not convinced about God.
So God set about showing him once again. How patient and gracious is our God!
So Ahab said, “By whom?”
~ 1 Kings 20:14a
God said that He will deliver the enemy to his hand. And Ahab looked around at his army and wondered… “By whom?”. He wondered who would lead them to an unlikely victory. And God told him, “You.”
Whenever there is work to be done for God, very often, our response is the same as Ahab’s.
And we think that by asking that question, God will answer by bringing someone else or someone new to the scene. And this person will be the leader or champion that will do the work and solve the problem for us.
But in many case, as I am sure you have found out for yourself, God’s way is to work and use those who are already in the midst of the work, even though they seem to be unlikely leaders or the army of God.
One of the things that I have been neglecting a lot is the work of knocking on doors to share the good news.
I won’t go into the many reasons why (none of them justifiable) but deep down I was hoping that someone who take over the lead. I knew that the work needed to be done… but I was trying to ask God the same question Ahab was asking… “By whom?”
After several months of not knocking on any doors, I stopped asking “by whom” and forced myself to do it. And when you set yourself to do God’s work, God provides.
He provided me with 3 co-workers.
As we have not done the work for some time, I must admit that I was rather worried that we would not know what to do.
By again by God’s grace… when we finished the final block of the estate that we have been struggling to complete, both groups could report that we had friendly doors that opened … and we could actually have a chat with them and shared with them our gospel tracts and church. One couple even gave us packet drinks and invited us into the house!
Like Ahab’s case, God was fighting the battle for us – despite my inadequacies and failing Him repeatedly.
When I read today’s chapter I could not help recalling what happened more than a month ago.
Who will join me this coming Sunday? There are some doors to be knocked.