Would you forgive an enemy? Someone who’s despised you, abandoned you, forgotten you, left you to follow another? What does that forgiveness look like?
In 1 Kings 16:30-33, Ahab was king of Israel and did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. He took a foreign wife, Jezebel, and they both served false gods of the day. He did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. He was supposed to lead the people to God but didn’t. He deserved no grace, no mercy, no forgiveness.
God punished him and the people by withholding rain for three years. Then it was time to establish His power and rule in 1 Kings 18. A contest was arranged between Him and the false gods: who would win? Who was truly God? Who would accept the offering on the altar? “The fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” The God of the Bible reigns in power! He alone is worthy to be praised! His enemies cannot stand against Him.
But why this amazing show of force and power? Then God did the most amazing thing. He restored the people (despite their idolatry), kept His promise to bring rain, and told His enemy, King Ahab (remember the one who denied and abandoned Him), “Go up, eat, and drink, for the rain is coming.” And then again, “Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.” And in a little while, the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode away from the storm. Divine fire and rain fell. God sends forgiveness and pardon, making all things new, giving new life and water that refreshes. Even pardon for Ahab. How much love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and pardon does our God have? How far does He go to uphold the fame and glory of Himself? False gods don’t act this way.
We are all like Ahab and Jezebel and the people of Israel, following false gods, following after false ways, leaning on our own understanding. The stain of sin runs deep. We despise God, abandon Him, forget Him. But God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. That’s how big God is, that’s how much God loves and pardons, that’s how much He forgives His enemies. You have the chance today to confess, turn, repent, and believe on His work on the cross for you. Learn the lessons that Ahab learned from 1 Kings 18: God is real, not false gods. God provides, pardons, and keeps His promises, not false gods. God has the right place in your life and offers you to join Him in His family. God pardons. “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God should die FOR ME!”