Sermon Text – 1 Kings 21:1-29
There is a progression in the story, the initial effect of the sin is low, but it ramps up, more people get involved, it becomes harder and harder to stop the momentum. As the wave of sin gathers more strength and increases in amplitude, it gets so out of control that, eventually, an innocent man is murdered. So for our outline, we will take the progression of sin as it ramps up, pause it along the way and ask the question, what could’ve been done at this point to squelch the forward motion of sin. And as we will see, the effort required to stop the momentum is proportional to the extent of which, that sin that has been able to grow unchecked.
What is it about Israelite kings, looking down from the top level of the palace and desiring something that isn’t theirs? David saw Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and was immediately ensnared by his own desire. The apostle James says, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
WHINING AND POUTING
An activity certainly unbefitting of a man, much less a king, the scripture describes it as follows, “And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.” I do not have to belabor this point because every man in the room knows, this behavior is repugnant. Your family looks to you, your children look to you, your wife looks to you as a symbol of strength, direction, and confidence and this is because you look to Jesus for strength, direction, and confidence.
SCHEMING AND PLOTTING
Our justice system wisely distinguishes between 1st degree murder and 2nd degree murder. Killing someone as a result of a heated argument or catching a spouse cheating is not the same thing as coldly calculating, scheming, and planning an assassination. With the former, we can at least recognize the humanity in it. We’ve all been overwhelmed with emotion at some point. But the latter is not human at all, there is no emotion. Just steely eyed, robotic, vengeance.
And so step one of doing things your own way, is self-deception and falsehood. How do you kick off scheming and plotting? Well, lying of course. Wherever there is evil, lying is there in tow, tethered like a demented sidekick. Jezebel writes letters in Ahab’s name and seals them with his seal.
No one was willing to do what was right. They valued only their own skin. Thankfully, the Bible gives us many examples of men, who count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus. And the Bible also gives us examples of women who courageously stand for righteousness.
The fangs of the black widow have found their mark and the poison has seeped in, corrupting mind and heart. Is there anything to be done? Can this be turned around? Trying to sew a patch on this wineskin would only cause it to burst. No, it must be thrown out. We must begin with a new wineskin if it is to fulfill its purpose. And so we’ve reached a point in the progression where sin is hell-bent on making it to the grave. Corruption is not satisfied with bits of purity that remain. No it must infect everything until the sound is unsound.
BEARING FALSE WITNESS
The two worthless men say in tandem, “You have cursed God and the king.” He has done no such thing. Refusing to relinquish what is rightfully yours is by no means a curse invoked. And here we see another strategy of the devil, making up lies about the righteous.
But now the frenzied demons howl with a fever pitch. An innocent man on the stake. Men with stones in their hands and pointed fingers. Watch the man weep as his life slips away. And sin gets what it wants! A dirty sepulcher, a body, and a mound of earth. Murder.
Sin has a way of gaining momentum. And there may be saints in this room who have done well, to maintain their spiritual life, who call out to the Holy Spirit for help, who cling to the Word and drink its sweet nectar, who apply the balsam of prayer and fasting, who seek the counsel and encouragement of other wise believers. And there may be others in the room who have neglected things. Perhaps your spiritual life is disorganized. Maybe it’s in turmoil. Maybe your walk is in shambles. Wherever you’re at on the graph of the momentum of sin. You might not be able to stop it, but Christ can.