King Ahab was the son of Omri and the seventh king of Israel. He reigned B.C. 919-896. In every way he was the opposite of God’s prophet Elijah who confronted him in God’s name at every occasion. Ahab’s legacy for us is not positive. To have a “Spirit of Ahab”, to be called an “Ahab man”, is not what the Lord calls us to, indeed, it is quite the opposite.
Ahab married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre; and in obedience to her wishes, built a temple to Baal and an oracular grove which was consecrated to Astarte. Ahab’s rejection of Jehovah as his one true Lord and God, as well as his lifestyle and morals, were seen as deplorable, and the Lord sent Elijah to confront Ahab. In First Kings 18:18, Elijah told Ahab face to face, “you have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and you have followed the Baals.” For Christians here, it is interesting to note that in passing on the Lord’s rebuke to Ahab, Elijah was in all things and at all times polite, courteous and a respecter of Ahab’s position as King. We need to remember that it is the sin which God hates, not the sinner.
In every way, the ‘spirit of Ahab’ is in direct opposition of the ‘spirit of Elijah.’ While Ahab was carnal and his mind focussed on worldly matters, Elijah was committed at all times and in all things to God alone. Ahab’s life was a total compromise; trying to wheel and deal while turning a ‘blind-eye’ to immoral act, but accepting favourable outcomes, irrespective of the means. Elijah, on the other hand, was a man of no compromises: he put God first and foremost, and gave himself uncompromisingly to follow all that which God required of him. Ahab was a man of little or no moral standing, coveting what which belonged to others and prepared to satisfy his and his wife’s desires, no matter the cost to themselves or to others. Elijah, by comparison was a man of great compassion. Finally, while Ahab was to die an ignominious death as a coward and in disguise at that, Elijah was taken home to the Lord in a chariot of fire, a most glorious departure from this earth.
Ahab’s ultimate confrontation with Elijah was at Mount Carmel (translated from the Hebrew as “God’s Fruitfulness”) when 450 prophets of Ball faced Elijah. The result, as detailed in First Kings 18 and 19 was a resounding victory for Elijah and the Lord, after which all of Baal’s prophets were killed, and soon thereafter, Ahab and his wife followed. This was a spiritual battle carried out on earth; a confrontation between the “soul” man and the “spirit” man. This battle, on the very top of Mount Carmel, was carried out in clear public view before the people of Israel, that none may doubt the outcome: that none may doubt that the Lord God of Israel was Lord indeed!
As we now move forward to today, some 2,900 years after King Ahab reigned and was crushed by the Lord, the situation has not improved; in most cases it is worse. As Ahab abdicated his God given authority as a husband, as a father, as a brother and as a leader, we can draw clear parallels with our current industrial or post-industrial society where most men have also abdicated God’s authority for them in their lives. We now live in a society where, even if there are fathers in the family or household, the children are still grossly under-fathered in every aspect of parenting, whether it be Christian or secular parenting. The results are tragic for all mankind and the effects worsen over the generations, they do not slacken.
An “Ahab” has been described as a “mixture-man”: a man who fears man more than God. This mixture-man is, as Romans 8:7 tells us, “because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be” for as v8:5 says “they who are according to the flesh mind the things of flesh.” This is a malaise which pervades the world today: men who are carnally minded, of the flesh, soulish, earthly and simply unable to understand things of the spiritual. They are men who dwell in the ‘isms of contemporary society, believing that man can solve all his own problems; believing in humanism, in mysticism and solutions by religiosity.
While Elijah allowed the Lord to “crucify” his old self at Cherith (First Kings 17:3) and at Zarephath (v17:9), Ahab carried on through life in his own selfish, prideful and soulish ego and made an idol of himself in his own heart. Thus, while the repentant and changed Elijah was able to lay down his will for the use of God, Ahab carried his will by himself, luxuriating in it. As James 3:6 tells us “for where envying and strife are, there is confusion and every foul deed.”
In reading Ahab’s life story we can clearly see that he had both envy and strive in abundance. The soul is the seat of the human ego and thus the spirit of the regenerated believer is the sanctuary for the Holy Spirit who dwells within born-again believers. We need to deal with our unregenerate self.
“Ahabs” dwell not only in the unregenerate world, but in the Church also. Countless men, fathers and husbands, fail to be priests in their own homes or in society. They do not pray at home or lead the family. They do not live as role models for their own children or any one else’s children for that matter. They are too wrapped up in self-idolatry to even allow the Lord to set them free and be the men, the fathers, the sons, the brothers, the priests and the leaders which God wishes of them, and for them.
The “Ahabs” in the church are shallow men, who have no deep understanding of the Word. While they may study it and memorise it, they cannot live in compliance with it. They are, as Isaiah 6:9 describes them, hearing but not understanding, seeing but not perceiving. Sermons have no effect on them and they don’t change and they never grow up spiritually. Once can see in the Bible that as King Ahab aged physically, his mind became progressively more childish. Such men are simply not teachable or correctable and are filled with excuses; while in their defensiveness, there is no possibility of confession.
For the wives of such men, there is only heartbreak. These wives long to have a spiritually mature man, but instead find they have married young children in mature bodies.
There is a solution for the problem and it begins with the Lord’s deliverance of the Ahab-man from the demonic spirits of Ahab and Jezebel, plus whatever else is working in consort with them to keep the man in bondage. But as above, it is very hard indeed for the mixture-man, the Ahab-man to see the problem in himself. This makes it hard to even start deliverance, for the victim simply will not see his own problems or guilt – for it is always the fault of others, as far as they are concerned.
I come before You and acknowledge You and Lord and God. I pray that if there is any spirit of Ahab or Jezebel within me that You will deliver me from them and set me free. Please bring to me a saint who will be able to minister to me and help me re-establish myself as the man You wish me to be. I am Your son and I want only You to be in control of my life and in control of my spirit. Father, I lay down me will before you and humbly cry out for Your help.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen.