The way the Lord deals with Ahab is an interesting read this morning. Elijah is sent to pronounce God’s judgement upon Ahab and his house (verses 20-24)
Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon you, and will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free in Israel; and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and because you have made Israel sin. Of Jezebel also has the Lord spoken, saying, ‘The dogs will eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.’ The one belonging to Ahab, who dies in the city, the dogs will eat, and the one who dies in the field the birds of heaven will eat.”
Ahab was a horrible king over Israel and the next couple of verses leave no doubt (verses 25-26)
Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him. He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the sons of Israel.
But then something strange happens, this evil king, when hearing God’s judgement against him seems to repent. (verses 27-29)
It came about when Ahab heard these words, that he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s days.”
God’s mercy is evidenced once again. As evil as Ahab was, God withholds His judgement. This passage says way more about God than Ahab. It says way more about God and how He deals with sinners who, like Ahab, are facing certain death because of the rebellion in their hearts. To the sinner who repents-who turns from their sin, God is quick to save-He is gracious and merciful. His steadfast love never ceases, even when we turn away He stands ready to give us life when we humble ourselves before Him. This is God’s story.