1. Ahab was Ambitious. Many of us are extremely successful by the world’s standard of life, but weak in the spiritual department.
2. Ahab was opportunistic. Who has not, at some time, been inattentive and allowed someone else to take care of things we are supposed to do?
3. Ahab was self-serving. Who has not neglected family and scriptural matters because of the demands of the career and the world?
4. Ahab focused on the worldly. In today's society men are considered successful if they have good jobs, make plenty of money, and provide a nice home.
5. Ahab compromised his beliefs. Who has not made unholy alliances for earthly gain?
6. Ahab abdicated his spiritual responsibility. Men allow their children to be educated by others, whether it be public schools, church schools, or even the wife alone in home schooling. Yahweh makes parents, fathers specifically, responsible for the training and admonition of their children
7. Ahab ignored evil. When was the last time YOU stood against abortion, homosexuality, false doctrines, political correctness, immodest dress, teen sex, immorality, violence, or dishonesty?
8. Ahab had no fear of Yahweh. Men's lives show fear of their Creator...not just the words of their mouths.
The way for Yahweh's people to exhibit faith is by living the scripture 24/7 and not compromising or compartmentalizing our beliefs. The good news is that we are given the opportunity to repent from our ways and start afresh. Begin today! Spirit of Ahab
There is no doubt that the spirit of Jezebel is alive and active in the American family. Without minimizing the actions and effects of this evil spirit, there is another spirit that accompanies, precedes, and magnifies the effects of the spirit of Jezebel. This is the Spirit of Ahab.
The characteristics of this Sprit of Ahab will become evident as we examine the story of King Ahab. Ahab, son of Omri, the seventh king of Israel, who reigned for twenty-two years, from 876 to 854 (1Kings 16:28), was one of the strongest and at the same time one of the weakest kings of Israel. He inherited the traditional enemies of the kingdom, who were ready to make trouble.
The kingdom of Israel, during the reign of Ahab, suffered drought and famine. But Ahab was clever enough to win the respect of friend and foe and strengthen the kingdom. But the evils of his reign were the result of measures that he took to strengthen the kingdom.
In the days of David and Solomon a good trading relationship existed between the Hebrews and the Phoenicians. Ahab recognized the advantages of having the leading commercial nation as his ally. He renewed relations with the Phoenicians and cemented them by his marriage to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre. This was in spite of the admonition of Yahweh in Deuteronomy 7:3 that the Israelites should not intermarry with idol worshipers.
Ahab then focused on reestablishment of friendly relations with Judah. For the first time since the division of the kingdoms, the hereditary quarrels were forgotten, and Jehoshaphat, the good king of Judah, made peace with the king of Israel. This alliance, too, was sealed by a marriage relationship. Jehoram, the crown prince of Judah, married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah.
Ahab showed cunning in foreign policy with his treatment of Benhadad, king of Damascus. An opportunity was given to crush the threatening power of Syria. But when Benhadad was overcome, Ahab instead spared the enemy and allowed him to depart on the condition that he would restore the cities captured, and concede certain streets in Damascus as a place for Israelite residents.
Ahab thought that a king won as a friend might be of greater service to Israel than a hostile nation. Whatever Ahab's motives may have been, these traditional foes fought side by side against their common enemy, the king of Assyria.
Ahab's strength in foreign policy was overcome by his disobedient religious policy. Through his alliance with Phoenicia he not only encouraged trade with Tyre, but invited Phoenician religion in as well. Ahab failed to realize that while a coalition of nations might be advantageous, infiltration of their pagan religions would be disastrous. He ignored the principle that Yahweh alone is the Elohim of Israel.
The worship of Yahweh by Jeroboam appeared antiquated to Ahab. Baal, the god of Tyre, the proud mistress of the seas and the possessor of dazzling wealth, was to have an equal place with Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel. Accordingly Ahab built a temple to Baal and erected a pole to Asherab in this temple (1Kings 16:32-33). On the other hand he tried to appease Yahweh by naming his children in his honor--Ahaziah ("Yah holds"), Jehoram ("Yah is high"), and Athaliah ("Yah is strong"). His religious policy was double minded and opportunistic at best.
Jezebel was a champion of the foreign culture. She was also an unscrupulous patron of the prophets of Baal and of the devotees of Asherab (1Kings 18:19-20, 19:1-2) At her instigation; the altars of Yahweh were torn down. Her vindictive nature caused Jezebel to inaugurate the first great religious persecution of the church, killing off the prophets of Yahweh with the sword. In all this she aimed at more than a syncretism of the two religions; she planned to destroy the religion of Yahweh root and branch and put that of Baal in its place. Ahab did not oppose her, and was guilty of conniving at the policy of his evil wife, if not actually concurring with it. (how often have we seen this done ?) Wrong religious principles have their counterpart in false ethical ideals and immoral civil acts. Ahab, as a worshipper of Baal, not only introduced a false religion, but false social ideals as well.
The royal residence in Jezreel had risen in importance through his alliance with Phoenicia. Nearby was a vineyard 1Kings 21:1) owned by Naboth, a native of Jezreel. Ahab coveted this piece of ground for a vegetable garden. He demanded that Naboth sell it to into or exchange it for a better piece of land. Naboth declined.
Ahab, a Hebrew, knowing the laws of the land, was stung by the refusal and went home greatly displeased. Jezebel, however, had neither religious scruples nor any regard for the civil laws of the Hebrews. Accordingly she planned a high-handed crime to gratify the whim of Ahab.
By the authority of the king she had Naboth falsely accused of blasphemy against Elohim and the king, and had him stoned to death. The horror of this murder possibly did as much to finally overthrow the house of Omri, as did the favor shown to the false god, Baal.
Neither religious rights nor civil liberties can be long trampled under foot without divine retribution. Like an accusing conscience, Elijah appeared before Ahab. His very name ("my Elohim is Yah") inspired awe. "As Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years,"(1Kings 17:1) was the troubling message left on the mind of Ahab for more than three years.
On Elijah's reappearance, Elijah informs Ahab that the king's religious policy has caused the trouble in Israel (1 Kings 18:18). The proof is to be furnished on Mount Carmel. The people shall know whom to serve. Baal is silent. Yahweh answers with fire. A torrent of rain ends the drought. The victory belongs to Yahweh. (1Kings 18:20-46)
Perhaps the warning of Micaiah the prophet gave Ahab a premonition that an upcoming battle would be has last fight. He entered the battle in disguise. An arrow, shot at random, inflicted a mortal wound. To avoid a panic of the troops, Ahab remained in his chariot all day and died as a hero at sunset. His body was taken to Samaria for burial.
The kingdom declined rapidly after Ahab’s death. He had failed to comprehend the greatness of Yahweh; he failed to stand for the highest ustice, and the effects of his sins are visited upon his posterity (1Kings22:29).
Ahab was brilliant in matters political and economic. He was astute as an arbitrator and dealmaker. And he apparently had moral beliefs. But, he allowed his life to be compartmentalized so that his beliefs were overcome by his weaknesses and cowardice. He was able to mentally absolve himself of responsibility of wrongdoing done on his behalf. And he neglected critical aspects of his life that were then dictated by others. Ahab did not allow righteousness to disturb his success track.
This retelling of the story of Ahab provides a glimpse of the personality traits and characteristics of the Spirit of Ahab.
1. Ahab was Ambitious. He wanted to build Israel into a world power. Many men routinely work very hard to build their kingdoms. Their ambition is justified by the concept of doing a greater good. No doubt the citizens’ lives were improved by Ahab’s alliances with foreign powers. But we have no proof that the benefits of his citizens were foremost in Ahab’s mind and not simply his desire for fame and fortune.
2. Ahab was opportunistic. He recognized opportunities to enhance his kingdom and seized them. He routinely yoked himself with unbelievers to further his plans for growth and dominance. He was willing to compromise tenets of faith for gain.
3. Ahab was self-serving. He married an ally’s daughter and then married his own daughter off to cement alliances he had made. Even though he was a very powerful king with vast holdings, he still coveted a plot of ground for his own garden. He believed he deserved the benefits of his kingship.
4. Ahab focused on the worldly. His attention was strictly on the building of that which will quickly burn up. His earthly power and legacy demanded his attentions and consumed his efforts.
5. Ahab compromised his beliefs. He was able to compartmentalize his spiritual belief so that it did not encroach on his actions. He embodied the concept of “nothing personal – just business”. He claimed to be subject to Yahweh and paid homage to him in some regards, but he had a tolerant attitude and willingly compromised his beliefs.
6. Ahab abdicated his spiritual responsibility. He willingly let Jezebel be the director of matters spiritual and to set policy concerning worship practices.
7. Ahab ignored evil. He readily allowed Naboth to be falsely accused and stoned. He chose to allow idol worship and even promoted religious practices directly in disobedience to Yah’s word.
8. Ahab had no fear of Yahweh. In spite of his claims, his actions denied a true respect and fear of Yahweh. He was able to worship with his mouth but not his actions.
What we are calling the Spirit of Ahab was evident in many biblical men both before and after him. Adam exhibited some of the characteristics when he allowed Eve to ignore Yahweh and feed him the forbidden fruit.
And many other men have espoused this spirit. Through ignorance, neglect, political correctness, or laziness, men allow their wives and family members to assume leadership roles. Women and children routinely run American families “ As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12).Allowing this usurping of authority and responsibility even impacts church leadership. If the wife and/or the children are the ones whose direction prevails in the household, is the man "ruling his own house well?"
This is not advocating tyrannical self serving patriarchal behavior. Scripture calls for a man to lay down his life for his wife and children, following Yahshua's example with the assembly when He "gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). A man is to make decisions based on what is best for his family rather than what is most convenient and pleasurable for him. Yet he is to be the one who makes these decisions, "ruling his own house well." (1 Timothy 3:4-5) If the wife or children dominate the home, someone else is ruling the house and the husband is disqualified from leadership according to scripture.
Another way that men exhibit the spirit of Ahab is by condoning or even placing their wives in situations which cause the neglect of their requirement to be their husband's helpmate. (Genesis 2:18) Husbands force their wives to serve two masters by having them work for another outside the home. In fact, a case can be made that he is even selling her into slavery.
If someone, other than her own husband, employs a woman, whom is she serving during her workday? The wife is limited in the help she can be to her husband during time dedicated to her boss. Yahweh intended the wife to be her husband’s helper. If a man encourages his wife to serve another master, he is not "ruling his own house well."
It is common to place high emphasis on the trappings of the typical American home. It is so easy to be tempted to believe that we NEED two incomes to run our family. The attitude that we cannot make it on only one income is often showing a lack of faith.
Contrary to popular belief, the “Proverbs 31 woman” is not the epitome of the feminist career woman. While this scripturally honored woman does conduct business physically away from the home, she is not under the direction of another man. The virtuous woman always has her husband’s interest at the forefront. (Proverbs 31:11-12) She is completely devoted to serving her husband and her family, and not another master.
Men also exhibit the spirit of Ahab through their willingness to defer or delegate spiritual education of the family. Men allow their children to be educated by others, whether it be public schools, church schools, or even the wife alone in home schooling. Yahweh makes parents, fathers specifically, responsible for the training and admonition of their children (Ephesians 6:4)
The 78th Psalm also gives us the mandate to educate our children:
We will not hide them from their sons; to declare to the coming generation the praises of YHWH; yea, His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
For He raised a Testimony in Jacob, and He set a Law in Israel; which He commanded our fathers to make them known to their sons; so that a coming generation may know; sons shall be born; they shall rise up and tell their sons, so that they might set their hope in Elohim, and not forget the works of Elohim, but keep His commandments.
And they shall not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that prepared not its heart; yea, whose spirit was not faithful with Elohim. (Psalm 78:4-8)
Yahweh has not given children to the community, to the society, and certainly not to the government. Neither did he give children to the church. Men allow a delegation of responsibility that is contrary to that established by Yahweh (Deuteronomy 6:7) if they do not personally oversee the training and education of their children. They are also responsible for promoting the spiritual growth of their wife. It is not the pastor’s responsibility.
Men cannot focus on bread winning and ignore serving the bread of life. Often, men spend their time with their jobs and if anyone in the family bothers to study the Bible, it is the women. Paradoxically, in today's society men are considered successful if they have good jobs, make plenty of money, and provide a nice home. Little credit is given to the man who willingly understands the importance of being a strong spiritual leader in the family, even at the expense of luxuries and comforts. “ Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of Yahweh, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
Ahab was not alone in exhibiting the characteristics of the sprit that bears his name. And he did not invent spirit, although he did personify it. The spirit of Ahab was long ago conceived by Satan and is promoted daily. In fact, it is pervasive. The spirit of Ahab is even manifest when men blame “pushy” women for their own weakness.
Many of us are extremely successful by the world’s standard of life, but weak in the spiritual department. Many have great careers, profitable businesses and well funded retirement plans but our family life is lacking. Many work too much, golf too much, drink too much, or do something too much, but fail to take care of true communion and spending time with the Heavenly Father and the family he has entrusted to us.
Who has not, at some time, been inattentive and allowed someone else to determine our religious beliefs? Who has not neglected family and scriptural matters because of the demands of the career and the world? When was the last time you personally taught your child scripture?
Who has not made unholy alliances for earthly gain? What product or service does your company provide…does it serve Yahweh’s plan? Who has not been tempted to compromise core beliefs for the sake of a deal? A former business associate used to say, “I am honest, but I’m not fanatical about it.” Does this describe you?
Who among us has not tolerated evil? When was the last time YOU stood against abortion, homosexuality, false doctrines, political correctness, immodest dress, teen sex, immorality, violence, or dishonesty? Have you ever “gone along to get along”?
When was the last time you really STUDIED the doctrines of your beliefs? Do you know why you believe what you believe? How much time did you spend in the Word this week?
Do your actions PROVE a fear of Yahweh and a separation from that which He abhors? Or do you exhibit a Spirit of Ahab?
The way for Yahweh's people to exhibit faith is by living the scripture 24/7 and not compromising or compartmentalizing our beliefs. The good news is that we are given the opportunity to repent from our ways and start afresh. Begin today!