Today's devotion from 1 Kings 21.
The deceit that we read in these verses goes beyond simple greed or avarice. Not only do Ahab and Jezebel reveal their wickedness, but they corrupt the system. They (more properly Jezebel) recruit others to do the dirty work for them through the guise of the system. They bring multiple witnesses with a fabricated story (bearing false witness) ultimately to create a pretense for killing an innocent man. Even David didn't stoop to this level with Uriah.
I don't know which makes it worse: the fact that the community leaders conspired to do this without even receiving a reward or the fact that once Ahab learns that Jezebel's plan has succeeded that he skips off to the vineyard without any concern whatsoever for the man that has been wrongly killed or Naboth's family we can presume were still in the area. I wish I could come up with some witty twist on all of this, but really we just see the dangers of being the only morally upstanding citizen in a deprave society guided and governed by a lunatic idolator.
The account hinges on two "worthless men" who would bring this false accusation, but who really are the worthless men? I would argue that the most worthless are these elders of the people who not only cast their dignity aside, but also undermine the system. A system in which they were entrusted to serve the people and deal justly.
Justice is an interesting concept.
We serve a God of justice. Yet, there is one interesting note. When Ahab is confronted by Elijah, he is truly broken by God's pronouncement of judgment. His repentance seems so sincere that God modifies the punishment. Granted, not a lot, but it is still significant that God could have mercy even on this callous man. We serve a God of justice and grace.
So take heart. The world is filled with injustices that you and I cannot solve. We need to do everything we can to love and bring healing and restoration. We must guard our hearts and character to ensure that we don't become "worthless men." But at the end of the day we must always remember not to place our faith in systems that can be corrupted, but in the God of justice who is a champion for the oppressed and hurting.