1 Kings 21:20 – And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
1 Kings 21:21 – Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
1 Kings 21:22 – And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
1 Kings 21:23 – And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
1 Kings 21:24 – Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
1 Kings 21:25 – But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
1 Kings 21:26 – And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
1 Kings 21:27 – And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
Hello readers, hope your week is going well. Today I want to talk about when Ahab “went softly”. Are you going softly like Ahab in life? What is going softly? When you go softly, you’re trying to avoid attention, you’re trying to keep a low profile. I’ve got a couple of dogs, and they go softly. If they do something wrong, they go softly trying not to gain attention or incur my ire. They sneak around trying to go under the radar and undetected. People going in to sin tend to go softly, they try to do their sin so nobody will notice. Webster’s 1828 defines softly as “gently, not loudly, without noise, placidly, mildly, tenderly”.
Well the Bible says that Ahab went softly. He sure modified his behavior. This was a different Ahab! Why was Ahab, king of Israel, going softly? To find out what happened, it’s best to read the chapter for yourself. But in a nutshell, Ahab and his wife Jezebel concocted a plan to murder an innocent man to get his property. And it was pretty much all Jezebel, Ahab didn’t come up with this stuff on his own. So they made up lies against him, and an innocent man and his sons got stoned to death. Not just lies, but they put a religious veil to their lies, they claimed Naboth had blasphemed God and the king… an offence punishable by death.
So they made a up legitimate claim to get rid of Naboth to claim his land. So often people’s religion is just a smokescreen… they’re not after honoring God or doing right, they’re just using religion to further themselves. Ahab and Jezebel didn’t care about God’s name being blasphemed, after all they were doing all sorts of evil in Israel… they just used “God” where convenient to unlock some doors they wanted opened. Many people today just play the religious game, they couldn’t care less about honoring Jesus Christ with their lives. Their lives is about themselves and getting what they want. Pretty simple.
There’s many lessons to take from this story. But today as stated, I want to consider when Ahab went softly. After the deed had been done, Ahab possessed Naboth’s vineyard and it seemed like he’d pulled off the perfect heist. But he was down in Naboth’s vineyard enjoying the spoils when Elijah the prophet found him, and pronounced fearful judgment by the word of God against he and his wife. Newsflash, he and you and I aren’t getting by with our sin.
Well… Ahab took what Elijah said fairly seriously. He’s the king, yet Elijah puts the fear of God into him. He was like oops, I’ve overstepped a bit here. And anyone would think Ahab repented. He rent his clothes and put sackcloth upon his flesh and fasted and went softly. Ahab was really sorry it seems. But Ahab really is a picture of what many of us do in life. We get a bit fearful of judgment, or we go through a bit of reformation or self improvement, and we go softly in life. We’re trying to smooth things over, adjust our behavior a bit and not do anything too wrong. Maybe you’re going softly in life, you’re not a bad person after all, and you’re trying to do pretty good, and yeah we’ve all done wrong but we’re trying to do right and all that.
Except Ahab didn’t have Biblical repentance. Ahab did go softly, but he’s like many people today who go softly, but don’t get right with God. Many people try to improve themselves and do better in life. But that doesn’t mean they’ve repented and been saved. Salvation isn’t moral reformation. Ahab never repented of what he’d done. After all… he kept the vineyard didn’t he? If he had any idea how bad what it was that he had done, he wouldn’t have kept the property. See, repentance proves itself. All Ahab’s trying to do here is go under God’s radar a bit. He’s been sobered up a bit by some hard hitting truths and he’s trying to do a bit better… after all it was terrible what he did, and he does feel a bit guilty about it all.
And maybe he thought… well it was really all Jezebel, because Jezebel was the one who came up with the plan… he sort of just looked the other way a bit. Are you a look the other way person when evil is being done? He wasn’t directly responsible, all he knew was he didn’t have the vineyard, but now he did. That would’ve been a really nice way to absolve himself of responsibility right.
In going softly, I’m reminded of what many people do. They do wrong, and then do right as if to make up for it. Maybe you’ve committed adultery or whatever, but you give to charities and that makes it ok. And it was only once, and you haven’t done it since, you’ve gotten your life back on track. But the thing is, doing right after wrong doesn’t make your wrong any less wrong. You can’t do good to make up for the bad to make it ok. That’s ridiculous. But Ahab did just that, he changed his behavior a bit, he didn’t commit that crime again.
Maybe Ahab thought reforming his ways a bit would make everything ok. They didn’t. Sure, he got by for a time, but judgment was still coming, and he still experienced exactly what Elijah told him would happen. You may reform yourself in life and be a pretty good person by your own measure. Hey, you don’t do what a lot of others do. You’re a responsible citizen you feel, you’re pretty trustworthy and honest, you work hard and do good to others kind of thing. But that doesn’t make you right with God.
Just because you don’t do what you used to doesn’t mean you’re right with God. That’s the lesson here. Many people never confess their sin, acknowledge it, and repent of it. They never take it to the cross. They never get saved. The cross and Jesus’ blood is the only thing that can wipe your sin away. Just stopping doing a sin doesn’t save you or make it ok or atone for your sin. Sure, stopping your sin is good, and it prolonged Ahab’s days even… because God let Ahab have more time because he changed his ways… but he still ultimately copped it so what good did it really do in the end? Those extra years must be very little consolation for Ahab in hell today.
It’s not enough to go softly in life. You must be saved and born again. If your sin isn’t dealt with, no matter how far back it’s hidden, no matter how much you’ve tried whitewashing it and making up for it by doing good… it still must be paid for. Ahab went softly, but he didn’t get right with God. Imagine if he had. This was a crime done in public, they had a mock trial with false witnesses and many people… MANY people were part of the plan. The elders were part of the plan, because they were paid off by Jezebel. She had them in her pocket. They did what she told them to do.
Many people just become better versions of themselves. It doesn’t mean they’re saved. How many times rebellious young people go out and do all sorts of sins, and then they “settle down” a bit later on in life. They get married and become responsible citizens. Indeed, it’s even expected that you will go a bit wild when you’re young… that’s part of growing up. But it’s not fine. And you may have settled down a bit, you may have reformed, you may be going softly in life… but you’re not going to get by with it.
It’s incredible how Ahab could have God consciousness, yet not be saved. It’s a pity he called Elijah his enemy. He made the man of God his enemy in life. And Elijah showing up always meant bad news for him… because he was always doing wrong. Ahab was pretty sorry too, sorry he had got busted for what he’d done. He was sorry the plan wasn’t quite as perfect as he thought it was.
Maybe you haven’t done as bad as Ahab and Jezebel did. But you’re going softly in life… but you’re not saved. You’ve reformed yourself, you’re not the person you once were… but you’re not born again. You can’t build a life without the foundation of truth and repentance and faith. So often we want to build on a foundation of lies. But the Christian foundation is based on truth. Ahab modified his behavior, he reformed and did better… but he didn’t get right with God. And thus things weren’t right, judgment was still coming.
Maybe you’re going softly in life. You don’t want to cop what God’s word has said is coming. But you don’t want to get saved, or pay the price of repentance… no you’ve got your pride and standing and self interests to preserve just as Ahab did… so you’ll make it right by doing a bit better. You won’t deal with things God’s way, no you’ll deal with things your convenient way that suits you. He didn’t own his sin or even attempt to make it actually right, he just made up his own way of making it right by doing better next time.
Maybe you’re not interesting in getting right… if Ahab wanted to get things right, he’d have made things right with public confession, owning what had happened and what he’d done, clearing Naboth’s name, and at very bare minimum surrendering the property and being judged by the same law that everyone else was under. Just because he’s the king doesn’t mean he’s above the law.
He was trying to be right with God without actually getting right on any level. Most of us aren’t interested in repenting and making things right, just in getting out of the consequences of our sin. He was hoping to “get away it” based on a bit of moral reformation and do better. There was no Biblical repentance here. His change in behavior had no foundation in truth and righteousness.
Are you going softly? Are you more like Ahab than you think? You can’t build a good and acceptable life and avoid judgment based on lies and sin. Ahab was sorry he got caught. Ahab tried to make things better by reforming, but everybody tries that. Everyone’s trying to be good enough. You can rationalize anything out if you rationalize long enough. But your righteousness is worth as much as his was. You can’t make up for sin yourself, without Jesus’ blood, your sin is not paid for, atoned for or forgiven or washed from. Ahab had this on his conscience to his dying day, his going softly didn’t change what had happened or make it right.
Ahab wasn’t willing to deal with what happened and hit it head on. He got busted but he decided to deal with it by just keeping a low profile. Hoping God would forget? But God doesn’t forget. Maybe he thought God’s word wouldn’t go exactly like he said. Maybe God didn’t mean what he said. That’s us. We get to believing the lie that God isn’t really who he says he is and does what he says he’ll do. Jesus said except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Biblical repentance is what’s missing, but it’s so necessary that God would send John the Baptist before his own Son to prepare the nations heart for him. May we all learn from Ahab, and learn that going softly isn’t the same as getting right and being right with God.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)