As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” – 1Kgs 21:15 NIV
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Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was an inheritance from his fore fathers that King Ahab was interested in. According to the King, his interest was due to the proximity of the vineyard to his palace and his desire to use it as a vegetable farm, offering to give Naboth another vineyard or pay him for the one in reference – 1Kgs. 21:2. Naboth declined both offers with the explanation that he was not willing to lose his inheritance – 1Kgs. 21:3. This saddened King Ahab who informed his wife Jezebel of the refusal of Naboth to let him have his vineyard – 1Kgs. 21:4-6.
Jezebel wondering why the King will allow such a “little” matter to worry him hatched out a plan to not just take the vineyard from Naboth without paying for it, but also to eliminate Naboth permanently – 1Kgs. 21:7-14. Naboth lost his life through a plan that framed him up during a feast he agreed to attend based on an arranged invite from the King and the scripture for today’s devotion is the reaction of Jezebel to the news that her messengers had succeeded in executing the evil plan. She immediately advised King Ahab to rise and take over the vineyard that suddenly had no owner.
One only wishes Naboth was alive to explain how and why he was so naive to have fallen for such a trap but in his absence some possibilities can be considered.
1. Was Naboth that naive not to know that the King was not happy with him and so reject such an invite?
2. Was Naboth too carried away by the fame that accompanied being invited to a dinner with the king that he could not see the inherent danger?
3. Did Naboth think he had all eventualities covered and so could safely visit the den of the lion and come back safely?
4. Was it a simple case of trust for the King that he could not harm his subject?
5. Was it the erroneous belief that since he did not plan evil, he could not himself be a victim of evil?
Any of these projections are possible but have all proven to be wrong as Naboth lost the land and more importantly, his life.
Many Christians today may not have lost their lives physically but definitely have been rendered spiritually dead because of one or all of the above. They would probably have preferred being physically dead than what they are going through as not only have they lost what makes them relevant in the society but have been rendered dead but alive.
That you are a Christian is not sufficient reason for you not to apply simple wisdom in your day-to-day dealings. Jesus Christ advised the Christian to be wise as the serpent but be gentle as a dove – Matt. 10:16. This was because he knew he was sending them out like sheep into the midst of wolves and he was aware although surprisingly that the children of the world seem to be wiser than children of light – Lk. 16:8. Christianity does not mean foolishness. This world is not made for only born again Christians. You are expected to survive and make that destined success here in this world and not in another world. Live your life in wisdom (Prov. 8:1-36) else you will not only lose your inheritance but your life also. As much as it cannot be all exhaustive, the experience of Naboth will provide some precautionary steps that should be taken by Christians to avoid the fate of Naboth:
1. Avoid naivety. The Bible says we should not be unaware of the devices of the devil – 2Cor. 2:11. Been pro-active to the devil’s scheming at all times will no doubt help to save the Christian from the fate of Naboth.
2. Do not be tempted by fame. Most times people get carried away by the possibility of fame and or been seen in the company of so called successful people. Christians need to know that only those whom God has designated to help will help. Any other help is an express way into economic slavery and bondage, a situation most people have found themselves in today.
3. Avoid over-confidence. To be over-confident is to under-rate the devil – Gen. 3:1-4. It is too naive to under-rate the devil at any point in time. Christians must always anticipate deceitful moves of the devil and so must constantly lean on the Holy Spirit for unknown information about such plans of the devil. Things are not always the way they look and confirmation by God through the Holy Spirit of every move will always be a step that will not be regretted.
4. Do not be too trusting. It is good to trust but always prove people to be trustworthy using standards that are objective. Trust based on sentiments will always be regretted. You cannot drop your guards for unproven reasons. Let the Holy Spirit help you to determine who to trust and who not to trust.
5. Do not be too assuming. Most Christians believe that all they need do is to avoid wishing evil or doing evil and they will not be affected by the evil plan of enemies. This can only be a lie from the pit of hell. No matter how much you avoid being involved with evil you should know that you still need to be vigilant in order to avoid evil plans that may be targeted at you as that remains the only way to avoid being a victim of evil.
There is no doubt that if you make these your guiding principles, you will remain a victorious Christian and not a victim of the smartness of the world. May God continue to protect us from the evil plans of the enemy in Jesus name. Amen.