Today's devotion from 1 Kings 20.
Not once, but twice God graciously delivered the Israelites out of the hands of their enemies. Each time, Ahab is told, in no uncertain terms, that the reason for God's miraculous work is so that he, Ahab, will know God's power. This is important because Ahab has been rebellious and idolatrous his entire reign. Yet, even being as twisted and sinful as he is, God was still willing to act on behalf of His people in order to protect them and proclaim His own power and glory.
But Ahab makes a miscalculation. Instead of obliterating the enemy of his kingdom and people, an enemy that threatened to carry off women and children, Ahab simply let him walk in direct violation of God's decree. God was going to put the enemy in Ahab's hand to protect the people, but the king decided to play politics instead of be obedient. In return, a prophet declared God's displeasure and the news that Ahab's life would be required in exchange for the life of Ben-Hadad.
Ahab's response is childish. It reveals his complete lack of understanding concerning God and His ways. He leaves "sullen and vexed." God had given him victory against insurmountable odds, and his downfall will be his own unwillingness to bow his knee to the Lord. Pride is a terrible adversary.
Think about everything Ahab has experienced. He witnessed Elijah call down fire. He saw first-hand how God took a rabble and defeated a massive army, not once, but twice. He received words directly from prophets explaining all of this. Yet, even when confronted with such a stack of evidence, Ahab cannot bring himself to bow to God and obey His command. This theme will carry forward to his death.
We can't afford to reject the warning found in Ahab's arrogance. We have the option to recognize God's worthiness to rule, or we will live in rebellion and pride. How many times has God sought to work miraculously in our lives only to have us meet Him will sullen attitudes and vexed expressions because we were disappoint or discouraged that He didn't do things our way, or we didn't want to do things His way?