Week beginning: 17th February, 2019 | By James Crabtree | St. Albans
So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money."1 Kings 21:2-3 (NKJV)
But Naboth said to Ahab, "The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!"
The Old Testament emphasis on the land as God's faithful provision for his covenant people underlies this memorable example of steadfastness and courage in the face of an enticing bargain, which offered a choice of favourable terms many would have accepted without resistance. However, for Naboth, the terms on offer entailed more than just the disposal of fruitful terrain. They called for what would have been the abandonment of an inheritance which was spiritual, as well as physical, signifying God's covenantal relationship with his redeemed people across the generations.
Throughout our lives as Christians, we are regularly tempted to concede ground or compromise, whether on matters of revealed truth, or moral conduct and sometimes for personal advantage. History is rich with examples of those who have stood firm, rejecting worldly gain rather than relinquishing the covenant blessings which belong to God's people and derive from Him alone. For some, standing firm has meant facing persistent challenges, or even persecution. For Naboth, his forthright, openly declared allegiance to the divinely ordained land inheritance cost him his life.
While this week is unlikely to present dilemmas where death is a possible consequence of standing firm as a Christian, the lesser challenges of daily legal practice often embody the risk of sinful compromise. Our frailty is such that, like Naboth, we should be ever mindful of our dependence on God's provision and of the great spiritual inheritance guaranteed by God's everlasting faithfulness to His people.
1. That we would be invigorated by Naboth's example to stand firm, with courage, when confronted by spiritual and moral challenges.
2. That the Lord will use our obedience in the face of such challenges to achieve His purposes (whether or not they are made clear to us).
3. That when standing firm, we will have the courage to tell others where we stand and why.