1 Kings 21 (Barnabus schools bible 171)
There was once a king and queen called King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. They were very rich and owned lots of land and houses. But King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were also very greedy. And they thought being king and queen meant they could have whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it. They would clap their hands and their servants would come running – “yes, your majesties, no, your majesties, anything you want, your majesties…”
One day Ahab looked out of one of the windows of the palace and saw a vineyard just beyond the palace walls. The grape vines in the vineyard were growing well. It was good soil, and so convenient. Ahab thought to himself. “I would like that piece of ground for myself. It would make a lovely garden for me. Think of the tasty vegetables I could grow there…And if I want it, I should have it!”
So Ahab clapped his hands. The servants came running in. Find out who owns that vineyard, he said. The servants went and found out. He was a man named Naboth, and his family had farmed that piece of land for many generations.
The king went straight to Naboth’s house. “Naboth, - give me your vineyard!” he said. But Naboth said that he wouldn’t – it had been in his family for many years and he wanted to pass it on to his children. “ I’ll pay you well for it!” said the king. But Naboth wouldn’t sell. “I’ll buy you a better vineyard!” But Naboth loved his vineyard – he didn’t want to give it up, and it provided well for his family.
King Ahab was furious. He stormed out of Naboth’s house and went straight home. He went into his room, slammed the door and lay down on his bed and sulked…He wouldn’t eat anything or talk to anyone. He just couldn’t understand it! He was king, after all!
Eventually Queen Jezebel came to see what the matter was. Ahab explained. “Now then, dear. We are king and queen. We aren’t going to let a little nobody like Naboth stop us having what we want, are we? You just leave it to me – I’ll get you that vineyard.”
So Jezebel thought up a plan. She summoned lots of people to a great gathering, including Naboth, but she paid a couple of people to come to the gathering to to make trouble for Naboth. When everyone was gathered there, they stood up and started accusing him of all sorts of things he hadn’t done, terrible things. The rest of the people believed them, and they carried Naboth off and killed him and threw his family off their land.
When Jezebel heard her plan had worked she went straight to King Ahab. “Naboth is dead, and all he owns is yours now! I told you I’d get you your vineyard!”
Ahab was really pleased.and went straight off to look at his new land.
But as he strolled around thinking about the things he would grow there, really pleased with himself, he saw someone coming towards him. It was Elijah, the prophet. Elijah had been praying that day and as he prayed he heard God’s voice telling him what had happened. Go to Naboth’s vineyard, said God, and tell him what I think of the way he has treated Naboth…”
You may be pleased with yourself, Ahab, but God isn’t pleased with you and Jezebel. You bullied Naboth and had him killed just so you could have another garden. Well, God says that because of the way you have behaved, he will take the kingdom from your family. All you have will be given to others too!
Ahab suddenly realised what he and Jezebel had done, and he felt terribly, terribly sorry. God decided to give him another chance. But in the end he didn’t change his ways, and everything happened just Elijah had said – he and Jezebel lost everything.
• What do you think of Ahab and Jezebel?
• They had lots of power, but instead of using it to help they used it to get more things for themselves.
• We might not be kings and queens but we all have power to make other people happy or sad. We can use it to bully them or to help them.
• If linking with Christ the King: Jesus said to his followers that we should use our power to help others. Sometimes we call Jesus our King, but he isn’t a king like Ahab, but one who wants to help us.
Pray for kings and queens and leaders, and for all of us that we will use our power to help.