Have you ever wanted something so much, but you knew that it was off limits to you? Have you ever wanted something so much that was off limits to you, that you manipulate your way into getting it? You even murder people who stand in your path so that you get what you want? No matter who stands in your way, you are determined that you will win? I’d like to tell an ancient story which gives us four warnings for today’s leaders.
Warning #1: Leaders should be servants of the people, but when a leader forces the people to serve their selfish purposes, the subjects will always suffer.
Once upon a time, there lived a woman named Jezebel. Her named means “pure” and “wholesome” and yet she lived in such a way that contradicted those attributes. She was one of the most evil queens Israel had ever seen. She went to great lengths to get not only what she wanted, but what her husband wanted as well. Her husband’s name was Ahab. This couple was, without a doubt, the most wicked husband and wife to ever rule the land of Israel.
Jezebel and Ahab partook in many evil deeds, but the one involving an innocent man by the name of Naboth might be the most sinister of all. Naboth had a beautiful vineyard beside the palace of Ahab. Ahab saw this vineyard and he wanted. It was a breathtaking vineyard. But it wasn’t his. It was Naboth’s vineyard. So Ahab demanded that Naboth give him the vineyard, but Naboth refused to sell the land. It’s not like Ahab just asked for the vineyard without offering a substantial amount that would equal if not go beyond the value of the vineyard. Ahab even offered a better vineyard in its place. Ahab also offered cash instead of land. In Ahab’s eyes, he was offering Naboth the vineyard of a lifetime. So, what was the problem? Why wouldn’t Naboth sell?
Naboth told Ahab that the Lord forbid him to give the King his inheritance. Naboth was a God fearing Israelite who obeyed the Mosaic Law. Naboth was not just being greedy or stubborn. His actions were based upon a biblical principle. This is why he refused to sell his inheritance:
“No inheritance of the sons of Israel shall be transferred from tribe to tribe, for the sons of Israel shall each hold to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers” (Numbers 36:7).
In other words, no transaction should ever be made permanent, but Ahab wanted to make a permanent purchase. Naboth knew that this was not God’s will, so he refused the King, knowing that it would probably cost him his life.
So, what did King Ahab do when he was turned down? He went home and pouted. Ahab laid down on his bed, turned away his face, and refused to eat. He behaved like a two year old when he or she does not get their own way.
When Ahab’s wife Jezebel saw that he was sulking in his bed, she told him to lighten up because she would get the land for him. Jezebel had grown up in a culture where the rights of individuals were not honored as they were in Israel. It seemed incredible to her that Ahab would not just take what he wanted. That was how a king should act, according to her way of thinking. If he would not do what was necessary, she would do so and without hesitation.
Jezebel devised an evil plan to kill Naboth. Her heart was stone-cold. She set up a meeting in Naboth’s town and hired two low-lifes to accuse Naboth of something false, but worthy of the death sentence. After hearing these false reports, the leaders took Naboth out of the town and stoned him to death. This royal family was guilty of four things that God abhors (Proverbs 6):
Hiring false witnesses to spread lies.
Shedding innocent blood.
Devising a wicked plan.
Warning #2: Leaders who MANIPULATE, LIE and CONSPIRE SINISTER PLANS to get what they want ignite a zealous anger in God.
The royal family got what they wanted…the vineyard. But what they didn’t realize was that God was watching all of this and His fierce anger burned against their total corruption of power. God places people in leadership to do good for the common people, but this couple manipulated and destroyed many lives for their own benefit.
The leaders who followed the directions of Jezebel obviously feared Jezebel more than they did God. And maybe they justified it because they were just taking orders. But surely they could see the injustice? Right?
Jezebel got away with it, again. She got away with it because no one had the courage to stand up to her evil plans. A lack of courage allows Satan’s plan of destruction to succeed. Have you ever kept quiet about something that you knew was not right, but you didn’t want to face the consequences of speaking out, so you remained silent? Maybe you talk in your protected pockets of individuals, but when it comes to letting people know exactly how you feel about an evil, you are scared. And when you do see people speaking up against evil, you continue to be silent because the world looks at them as fanatical and you don’t want to be placed in the same category as them. Play it safe, remain silent…that is, until all your rights are taken away from you.
Jezebel told Ahab that Naboth was no longer in the picture and he could now have his precious vineyard. So he went down to the vineyard, thinking he was going to enjoy it. Little did Ahab know that he was going to run into his old buddy, a fanatical truth-teller. The man’s name was Elijah and he always made Ahab feel like he was an evil man.
The Lord told Elijah to confront Ahab at the vineyard. As Ahab was checking out his new vineyard, Elijah stepped out from behind a vine and said, “Congratulations, Ahab!”
“You again!” seethed Ahab. Ahab for years had been trying to kill the truth-teller named Elijah, but God protected him. Evil people hate truth-tellers, because their sinister plans are often times blocked by truth-tellers.
“Yeah, its me, and you know why I’m here. You know that what you did was evil in God’s eyes. You know that you just killed a righteous and innocent man.” Elijah rebuked Ahab directly.
Elijah told Ahab that God would sweep him away because of his evil ways. Dogs would lick his blood when he died. He also told Ahab that God would allow dogs to eat Jezebel because of her evil ways. It was a common practice for dogs to roam outside of the city and actually lick the blood from the deceased and eat their flesh when they were left dead.
No leader ever gets away with murder. No leader ever gets away with conspiring evil plans. No leader ever gets away with lying so that they will get elected. No leader ever gets away with evil. God eventually punishes every evil leader.
Warning #3: Wicked leaders will eventually be SEVERELY JUDGED by God.
What happened to Ahab?
Three years after getting his vineyard, Ahab was mortally wounded by an arrow in battle and as they washed the blood that was on the chariot by the pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood (1 Kings 22:38).
What happened to Jezebel?
During an insurrection, Jezebel was thrown out of a window. Her body crashed to the ground and killed her. Some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall. They went to bury her, but they found nothing more of her than her skull, her feet and the palms of her hands because the dogs had eaten her (2 Kings 9:35).
What happened to Ahab’s 70 sons?
God would not allow Ahab and Jezebel to leave a legacy. These 70 sons were beheaded and their heads were piled upon at the entrance of the city of Jezreel (Naboth’s hometown).
Wicked leaders will eventually be severely judged by God.
Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard so much that he allowed Jezebel to falsely accuse Naboth and kill him, but in the end both Ahab and Jezebel were killed for the evil they did to Naboth.
Warning #4: Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes the worst thing that could happen is for you to get your own way.
The spirit of Jezebel has lived on past her despicable death. Every once in a while throughout history, the wretched Jezebel rises to power in a new time period. We see her arise in the early church when the congregation tolerated a woman who had this same type of leadership style (Revelation 2:20).
Has she arisen once again in our time period of history? Is her spirit alive and well in this nation? You be the judge of that. Let’s hope and pray that anyone who embodies the spirit of Jezebel never leads our nation, for we have been warned from our past.
Sadly, history always repeats itself. But there is hope if enough truth-tellers stand up against the lies and the murders and the dark-minded strategies. Never forget that whenever there is a Jezebel in the land, there is always an Elijah. The question is: which one do you align yourself with?