The Bible describes Ahab, the King of Israel during the time of Elijah the prophet, as one of the most wicked kings ever. I Kings 21:25 summarizes his life by saying that he “sold himself to do evil in the sight of YHWH” and “acted very abominably in following idols.” Yet Ahab’s response to his rebuke from God brought a surprising result:
When Elijah confronted Ahab with God’s message of judgment, verse 27 says that “he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted” and humbled himself before God. As a result, God told Elijah in :29, “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but I will bring the evil upon his house in his sons days.”
The lesson should be clear to us: if God will hear and mitigate His judgment upon the response of a man as evil as Ahab, then surely there is hope for each of us who will humble ourselves and call upon the Lord for mercy!
And if God was merciful in the days of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets, how much more will He show mercy to us who live in the light of New Testament grace in which He promises to save all who will call upon Him through Jesus Christ?
This episode should encourage us: if God will show mercy to an Ahab, surely He will do the same for us as well!