1 Kings 20
-This chapter reflects back on the conflict between King Ahab of Israel and Ben-hadad king of Aram. Ben-hadad gathered thirty-two kings with him and made some cocky predictions about what he was going to take and do in Samaria. However, the elders and people of Israel were with their king and did not want him to consent nor listen to Ben-hadad’s demands. A prophet from the LORD also came and gave assurance that the Arameans would be delivered into the hands of Israel for the purpose of them (Israel) knowing that their LORD was God (1 Kings 20:13). The prophet urged them to start the battle, so Israel mustered up troops and attacked while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the temporary shelters with the thirty-two kings who helped him. Israel struck them with a great slaughter, but Ben-hadad escaped. The prophet came back with the word that they would come back and attack at the turn of the year and that they should fight them in the plains, for the Arams believed their gods were gods of the mountains and they would be stronger there (1 Kings 20:14-25). At the turn of the year, Ben-hadad did muster up his troops and they came against Israel at Aphek south and west of Samaria. The Arameans filled the country with their warriors, but God delivered His people once again to prove to them and make them know that He was their LORD (1 Kings 20:28). At least 127,000 Arameans were killed in the battle and Ben-hadad had to humbly make a covenant with Ahab (1 Kings 20:29-34).
-At this point a prophet had a situation where he wanted another to strike him, but the man refused. Therefore, because the man did not listen to the voice of the LORD, he was killed by a lion as soon as he departed. The prophet found another man and had him strike him, which this time the other man struck him wounding him. This led to the prophet disguising himself to the king of Israel to pronounce judgment on Ahab because he let go out of his hand Ben-hadad, who the LORD had devoted to destruction. Therefore, the prophecy was given that Ahab’s life would go for his (Ben-hadad) life and the people of Israel for his (Aram’s) people. “So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and vexed, and came to Samaria (1 Kings 20:35-43).
-*Application* God will put us through situations to help us KNOW Him. He will even be patient enough to give evil people blessings to show them Himself if they are aware and concerned enough to pay attention to His goodness. This is what we must understand from this episode with Ahab and Ben-hadad. Thank God for His patience and goodness, but remember that there are limits to it. As we see in the passage, Ahab still refused to obey the LORD and would ultimately suffer greatly for it. Accept the LORD while you have the perfect opportunity. Trust in Him and seek to KNOW Him. This is the point of the chapter for our lives.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Kings 20:13