1 Kings 21

Hardened Hearts.

“And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” ­– 1 Kings 21:10 NLT

How do two people get to the point that they are willing to kill to get what they want? How did Ahab and Jezebel, the king and queen of Israel, find themselves so morally corrupt that they were willing to twist the very laws of God to fulfill their own selfish desires? It was all a matter of the heart. Their hearts had become hardened after years of living in rebellion against God. Over in Proverbs, Solomon warns, “Blessed is the one who is always cautious, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into evil” (Proverbs 28:14 NET). The NET Bible study notes read, “The one who ‘hardens his heart’ in this context is the person who refuses to fear sin and its consequences. The image of the ‘hard heart’ is one of a stubborn will, unyielding and unbending (cf. NCV, TEV, NLT). This individual will fall into sin.” Ahab and Jezebel had developed calloused, hardened hearts characterized by a stubbornness and insensitivity to the will and the ways of God. They both knew that it was impossible for Naboth to sell his vineyard – it would have been a breech of the Law for him to sell his family inheritance. But Jezebel was not only willing to break that law, she was willing to twist another law of God to suit her own selfish agenda. She used the law of blasphemy to have Naboth falsely accused and executed. Once he was out of the way, she could get his land.

In his letter to the Ephesians church, Paul describes the ungodly is terms that seem as if he is describing Ahab and Jezebel. “Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed” (Ephesians 4:18-19 NLT). Closed minds, hardened hearts, an indifference to right and wrong, lives filled with impurity and greed. That is exactly what was wrong with Ahab and Jezebel. When they had decided to turn their backs on God, their hearts began to turn hard. Without hearts that were tender toward the ways of God, they were capable of doing anything. Their hearts were driven by selfishness and self-centeredness. This whole story revolves around Ahab’s desire to have a vegetable garden! A man loses his life and his family loses their inheritance all because Ahab wanted to have a garden. According to Elijah the prophet, Ahab had “sold” himself to doing evil. He had surrendered himself to a life of doing what was against the will of God. And the result was going to be his own destruction and that of his family. God would not and could not allow Ahab and Jezebel to continue to mock His name and His law.

How did Ahab and Jezebel get to this point? It all began when they decided to disobey God and live according to their own set of standards. Hard heads develop hardened hearts. An unwllingness to listen to God turns into an inability to know right from wrong.

Father, hard hearts don’t happen overnight. They develop over time. And it begins with a willingness to disobey You in the small areas of life. As we do, we become increasingly more insensitive to Your will and Your ways. Please protect me from disobeying You and justifying it. Don’t let me rationalize my sin and excuse my disobedience. It will only result in a hardened heart. Keep my heart tender and sensitive to You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men