So this past Sunday I read 1 Kings 21 about Naboth's Vineyard. I've actually read this story maybe one or twice but this is the first time I really reflected on it. It's such an interesting story because even with the position that the owner was in he was very relentless. So here's the story:
There was a king named Ahab who ruled over the town of Jezreel. He wanted a vineyard belonging to a man named Naboth. So the King goes to Naboth and asks "Can I have your Vineyard? It's much closer to me and I want to turn it into a vegetable garden. I can pay you for what it's worth." Naboth say " The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors." So basically he's like Heck No! This Vineyard has been in my family for generations, I'm not giving that up to you for anything!
Ahab the King, goes home sulking and his wife Jezebel sees this. She's like "This is why you're mad?" What do you mean he won't give you the garden? This is how you act as King? You better go eat. I'll get the you the Vineyard. After this, Jezebel (the wife) forges letters in the King's name and states the city should take a day to fast and praise God. Naboth should be seated at a high place and there should be two scoundrels (crooks) seated next to him.Have them bring charges against Naboth saying that he's cursed God and the king.
So a day of fasting was proclaimed and Naboth was seated in a prominent place among the people. Then two men come in and falsely accuse him of blasphemy against God. Naboth is then stoned to death and once this happens, Jezebel commands her husband to go and seize the vineyard because Naboth the owner is now dead. Ahab does exactly that.
Now you know the story isn't over until justice is served, right?!
So God was furious about what the King did. God commands the prophet Elijah to tell Ahab this "You just murdered a man for his property. God has cursed you! In the same place dogs licked up his blood, dogs will lick up your blood. Dogs will lick up the blood of your wife Jezebel at the wall of Jezebel." Shortly after this prophecy they died.
1. WISE COUNSEL
What I learned from this reading is you MUST have wise counsel around you. It's really sad that Jezebel and her husband had to suffer this fate but this is what happens when you don't have wise people or God-led people around you.
As a King and a man, you shouldn't let your wife convince you to sin (remember Adam & Eve). As a King you should be just and fair. Jezebel would convince Ahab to commit the worst atrocities. Jezebel knows that this property has been in Naboth's family forever and basically says "What the King wants, he will get. By any means necessary." As a wife, YOU don't have to please your man to the point of destruction. You're supposed to be the sound one, the reasonable party, you're supposed to calm him down not edge him on ESPECIALLY if he's wrong. As King, you have more than enough money to have any other Vineyard, so why are you being greedy and coveting somebody else's property? Because it's closer to you? The wife should've said "You know honey, it's OK. You'll find another one that's even better. Leave this one alone, you know he's this poor man let him have his property.
2. STAY ALERT
I really commend Naboth for standing up for himself even though they ended up killing him. Naboth understood the value of his property. Unfortunately I don't think he stayed alert as much as he should have. He may have been a little too excited to sit at the kings palace or amongst the highest ranking people in the city. If he politely declined, the story could have possibly ended differently. In life, we must not jump on every opportunity. Though he declined the Kings offer in their first encounter he let his guard down too soon.
3. DON'T FORSAKE YOUR INHERITANCE
Similar to the story of Esau and Jacob, Esau was sooooo hungry that he forsake his birthright. He basically said "I don't care, you can have my birth certificate, I just need the food I'm hungry!" Finally, when the blessings were given out, Jacob got the blessing (even though the way he got it was kind of shady but you know things happen the way they should). Esau giving away his birthright foreshadowed the face that he wouldn't receive the blessing of the first-born son. What you do in the physical also translates into the spiritual realm where Jacob the younger brother ended up taking that blessing and received a lot more in life and future generations. It's like when your family leaves inheritance for you and you just waste it or use it recklessly, like pawning your family heirloom or something with great VALUE. It doesn't matter much money you want to give me, this is priceless.
Please remember this! NEVER forsake your inheritance or let desperation lead us into a bad situation. We really need to guard the gifts and the blessings that God gives us. Stay alert so that people don't try to come in and seduce us with something thats much less valuable.