READ : 1 Kings 16:29-34
Ahab . . . did . . . evil . . . more than all who were before him. (v. 30)
For most of my lifetime the tallest building in the world was either a skyscraper in New York or one in Chicago. A few years ago the title was grabbed by Malaysia, and after that by Taiwan, and before long Dubai will have outdone every other competitor.
Like the bad kings of northern Israel, Jeroboam, the first of them, was a monumentally wicked ruler. But others were even worse. Omri, for example, “did more evil” than any of his predecessors, while Omri’s son Ahab reached heights of wickedness that surpassed them all.
The event noted here in verse 34 shows just where the nation had gone wrong. Ancient Jericho was rebuilt as a fortified city, in spite of God’s having pronounced a curse on anyone involved in such a project. But Israel no longer cared what God was supposed to have said, or (when doom fell on Hiel’s sons) saw any connection between the old prophecy and what had now happened. A nation that ignores God’s word is heading for real trouble.
Amazingly, the God who could still fulfill his word of judgment was also prepared to speak yet again his word of mercy. His messenger Elijah was waiting in the wings.
In the worst of times, Lord, you are in control, whether to judge or to bless. We praise your name.