Finishing up 1 Kings, the story of Ahab is very prominent. This man wanted a vineyard near his castle and the owner would not sell it to him. So, he whined about it and his wife, Jezebel had him killed. She had two guys lie about his loyalty and he was hung. Ahab knew of this, and took the now occupied vineyard. 'There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.' 1 Kings 25-26.
After hearing what the Lord thought of Ahab, he humbled himself. A king, with many riches, wore a sackcloth, fasted, and walked around meekly. He was submissive to the Lord and everyone around him. To show no signs of wealth and walk around like a homeless man where all can see...that is humbleness. Instead of showing everyone how important the king was, as he did always before, he now made everyone more important than him. He fasted...meaning he wouldn't even eat.
The purpose of the message today, what it meant to me, is that no matter how much evil you do in the eyes of the Lord...all He wants to see is that we submit to Him. The Lord is a forgiving God...even in the Old Testament He forgave people. 'Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son." 1 Kings 28-29.
Granted, his son will reap what his fathered sewed, but the Lord always brings His people back to Him. It's not that the Lord cursed Ahab's son...Ahab's son already worshiped false gods...and so the Lord took out His anger on the son, because his father humbled himself. The son never humbled himself. The point is, we ALWAYS have a chance to humble ourselves. I'm not saying we need to walk around with a sign on our front telling people of all the sins we have committed. Mainly because there aren't signs big enough and words small enough to fit on our bodies that would reveal all the truth.
We all sin and we have all disobeyed the Lord. But we don't have to keep falling and keep disappointing Him. He doesn't want us to work our way into His grace. We could NEVER earn our way into heaven. It's impossible. For every good thing we do, we do three more bad things. Whether it be through thoughts or words, we cannot escape imperfection. And that's fine. Because of Jesus Christ, we don't have to live the perfect life and die the perfect death. He's done that FOR US, so we can live with Christ here on earth. The Holy Spirit is here with us! And it's FREE! All we have to do is, SUBMIT.
How do we submit and humble ourselves? We have to admit that our lives are not as important as God. Our life plan is unimportant if God isn't directing it. We have to admit and believe that we cannot earn God's love. We don't deserve it. How could we earn something we cannot work for? If something is GIVEN to us, then we cannot work for it. Christ did the hard work for us. Let's humble ourselves, and thank Christ, instead of listing all the good things we do, thinking it will get us into heaven.
As a believer and follower of Christ, we do good works because that's what we saw our Father doing. 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son also does.' John 5:19. Meaning, it is our right as children of God to do good works. But this does not EARN His love. We cannot earn the love of our earthly fathers, and they are imperfect. So why do we believe we can earn the love of our PERFECT Heavenly Father? Is the Creator not greater than the created? We have grace by loving and submitting to Christ!
So, all we have to do is humble ourselves. It doesn't matter if we do more than others or make more than others...because only the world evaluates success by what we have or do. The Lord is not binded to the world's standards. He is His own law...and His law states that we are saved by the confession of faith that Jesus is Lord and by submitting ourselves to Him. Thank God. Because if I had to work for the love of Christ and for my place in His eternal presence...I'd always come up short!
I love you for believing this! Because that means you aren't afraid to admit you're human and you aren't working for something that is given to you! :o) Be blessed!