“Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30-33).
Following the reign of Solomon, God’s people split into 2 separate kingdoms: (1) the kingdom of Israel ruled by Jereboam, and (2) the kingdom of Judah reigned by Rehoboam. Jereboam leads the kingdom of Israel further and further away from God. Those kings ruling Israel after him continue this departure from the ways of the Lord. There are multiple coups where someone conspires against the sitting king of Israel and usurps the throne. For example Baasha (1 Kings 15:27-28), Zimri (1 Kings 16:9-10) and Omri (1 Kings 16:16-23) all ascended to the throne by staging a coup against the sitting king. The kingdom of Israel was spiraling down as it departed further and further from God. Each of these kings provoked God to anger by their wicked ways. For example of Omri it is said, “Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:25).
However, there would rise up kings in Israel more wicked than Omri. As the opening verse above indicates, Omri’s own son Ahab “did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). He was brazen about his sin as he builds an idolatrous temple (1 Kings 16:32), makes a wooden image to worship (1 Kings 16:33), and marries Jezebel who promoted the idolatrous priest of Baal by feeding them at her own table (1 Kings 18:19). Ahab took his sins against the Lord very lightly as he thought it “a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (1 Kings 18:31).
As I think about Israel’s downward spiral during the reigns of these kings, it is easy to draw parallels to the downward spiral we are seeing in our own nation, the United States. As I pick up today’s morning paper I see the Supreme Court hearing arguments over whether or not our country should legalize gay marriage. There are few things in God’s Word as clear as that God considers homosexuality an abomination (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and that marriage is to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). This is not meant to “bash” or focus only on those who practice the sin of homosexuality because there are many other sins (e.g. lying, cheating, fornication, murder, etc.) which as a whole our nation has “trivialized”.
However, rather than pointing my finger at everyone else, I need to look at myself. Do I trivialize my own sin? Do I minimize my sin when I speak angry words that hurt others or tell a “little white lie” or refuse to forgive those who have sinned against me?
When I consider the great price that was paid (i.e. the death of God’s Son Jesus) for my sin, I am greatly humbled. Like all others, I have all sinned (Romans 3:23). I deserved to die for my sins (Romans 6:23). God be thanked that I was blessed with the opportunity to hear the good news about Christ and have been forgiven of my sin through his blood (Romans 6:3-4; 6:17-18). I am not better than all the other sinners around me. I am just blessed to be forgiven through Christ and I live by faith in Him. Today, I will strive not to trivialize my own sin and live rejoicing in God’s forgiveness!
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)