Ahab and Jezebel

Christians get worked up about the Jezebel spirit, but before there can be a Jezebel there must be an Ahab. Ahab brought Jezebel to Israel.
The church must understand this.

There were a set of behaviours that were repeated again and again in Israel.
These behaviours opened the way for the Spirit of Jezebel
They started with Jeroboam

House of Jeroboam

This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth (1 Kings 13:34)
Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:10).
These curses reached a climax in Ahab (2 Chron 22:8; 2 Kings 10:30).

Genealogy

Jeroboam

Nadab

Baasha

Elah

Zimri

Omri

Ahab

Not a Wimp

Ahab has been totally misunderstood by Christians. We think of him as a wimp, but this is wrong. His father Omri was the commander of the army, and you only got that job in those days, if you were physically tough and totally ruthless. Omri killed off all the opposition to become king. Ahab was Omri's son, so he would have been brought up tough (1 Kings 16:16).

Kings did not last long in those times, so Ahab's twenty-two year reign was a record (1Kings 16:22). He built palaces and a fortified city (1 Kings 22:39). He was a very successful warrior-king at time when war was fought hand-to-hand. Ahab was mean, tough and strong, and had killed his share of men. He was a bully, not a wimp.

Ahab married Jezebel for political convenience. He needed a peace treaty with her father and their marriage was part of the deal.

Ahab was a hard, tough, mean political and military operator, who expected to get his own way. When he asked for something, people would jump to get it. This is why was sulking over the Naboth incident.

The Jezebel spirit cannot get a hold in church, unless an Ahab spirit that already exists among the leadership opens the way.

Ahab Complex

God held a plumbline against the house of Ahab and it failed the test. The house was not upright.

The Bible teaches quite a bit about the weaknesses in Ahab's character. It provide important lessons for church leaders. These weaknesses leave church leaders vulnerable to the Ahab spirit, which opens the way for the Jezebel spirit. I have listed the vulnerabilities in the notes.

  1. Populism
    Ahab walked in the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat (1 Kings 16:31)

    Jeroboam = the people increase, multiply
    Nebat = look.
    Ahab and Jeroboam looked to the people. They were populist leaders.

    Vulnerability: Insecure leaders find populism hard to resist.

  2. Presumption
    Ahab thought to himself, he devised schemes in his heart
    1 Kings 12:28,29, 22:8, 12:33.

    Vulnerability: Many Christian leaders copy the ideas of other men.

  3. Compromise
    Ahab was enticed into compromise when he should have stood firm.
    1 Kings 12:28,29; 16:31,33: 20:32,34; 11:40 2 Kings 17:21; 8:18; 2 Chron 21:13 (prostitute themselves).

    Vulnerability: Just as harshness is always a temptation to prophets, compromise is always a temptation to pastors.

    Ahab = Brother is father
    Everyone was Ahab's brother
    Hiel rebuilt Jericho in Ahab's time (1 Kings 16:34).

  4. Tolerate
    Ahab tolerated evil.
    Rev 2:20, 1 Kings 16:31, 20:4; 20:33.

    Vulnerability: This is risk for pastors in church without prophets. The problem is not Jezebel, but leaders who tolerate evil for the sake of peace.

  5. Comfort
    Ahab enjoyed the comforts of the flesh
    1 Kings 16:9; 18:41; 21:1,2; 22:34; 21:16.

    Vulnerability: Enough said.

  6. Jealous
    He was troubled by covetousness and jealousy
    1 Kings 21:2; 11:26,27.

    Vulnerability: what if some of your sheep go to another church. Will you be threatened.

  7. Money
    He used money to achieve results, bribery
    1 Kings 13:7; 20:3,4; 21:2.

    Vulnerability: Money problems are common in churches.

  8. Anger
    Ahab was sullen and angry (vexed NASB)
    1 Kings 20:43; 21:2.

    Vulnerability: sullenness and sulking are a slippery slope.

  9. Threats
    Ahab used threats and intimidation to control people.
    1 Kings 18:10,11.

    Vulnerability: Controlling guilty or vulnerable people is easy for pastors/leaders.

  10. Up and Down
    Sometimes Ahab was hard-hearted. Other times he was humble - a convenient humility
    1 Kings 20:25-29.

    Vulnerability: inconsistency is risky.

  11. Rebellion
    Ahab ended in rebellion
    1 Kings 11:26; 12:19; 16:20; 21:25;
    He set up idols
    1 Kings 12:31; 21:26.

    Vulnerability: Some church programmes can become idols.

  12. Resisted the Kingdom of God
    2 Chron 13:8,12
    Rev 2:26,27.
    Those who persevered in Thyatira were promised the Kingdom of God
    They would have the Morning Star, ie they will defeat Satan (Is 14:12).

    Vulnerability: there is not much interest in the kingdom among church leaders.

Attitude to Authority

Ahab had an interesting relationship with authority.

  1. People Pleaser
    Jeroboam was appointed by the people not God
    1 Kings 12:20
    Ahab was willing to let the people decide.
    1 Kings 18:19,20
    1 Kings 12:20; 13:33; 20:32, 34 20:4; 18:19,39.

    Vulnerability: People pleasing is a danger for pastors.

  2. Outsider
    Ahab came from a lower level position
    His mother was a widow 1 Kings 11:26
    God exalted him 1 Kings 14:7
    Jeroboam, Zimri, Baasha, Omri, Jehu were all outsiders who went to the top.
    This leads to insecurity
    1 Kings 11:28; 1 Kings 15:27; 16:9, 16:16.

    Vulnerability: Most pastors come from outside the church, invited by the people. They have to win acceptance of the people. This leads to insecurity.

    In the New Testament, leaders are raised up from within church. They were known and come with credibility. They did'nt have to establish themselves.

  3. Deception
    Ahab used pretence, deception to achieve what he wanted
    1 Kings 14: 2,6; 22:30.

    Vulnerability: Many Christian leaders wear a mask. This covers up insecurity.

  4. Factions
    Ahab and Jeroboam took advantage of the factions to consolidate their position
    1 Kings 12:19; 16:21; 18:21.

    Vulnerability: Pastors can be tempted to manipulate factions.

  5. Usurper
    Ahab took a position that was not his by right.
    2 Chron 13:5,6. 1 Kings 16:9
    He plotted, conspired and took a position given to the house of David.

    Vulnerability: Jesus is the chief shepherd = senior pastor. It is dangerous to take that title.

  6. Opportunist
    Ahab took advantage of people's weakness to get his own way.
    2 Chron 13:6,7
    1 Kings 16:9, 15:27.

    Vulnerability: Pastors often surround themselves with weak leaders.

  7. Ruthless
    Ahab dealt severely with predecessor's heirs
    2 Kings 15:29, 16:1.

    Vulnerability: How do you treat the people loyal to your predecessor?

  8. Control
    Ahab desired control
    1 Kings 13:4.

    Vulnerability: over-control is a temptation for all leaders.

  9. Power Struggle
    Ahav won a power struggle. He prevailed
    1 Kings 16:22, 18:20.

    Vulnerability: joining power struggles is a temptation for all leaders.

Ahab and the Prophetic

Ahab had an ambivalent attitude to the prophetic.

  1. User
    Ahab used other people for his purpose.
    1 Kings 21:3-11; 22 1-4: 18:5, 22:26
    He used a woman to do his dirty work
    1 Kings 14:2; 21:5-16; 19:1
    He was willing to use prophets when it suited.
    1 Kings 13:6, 14:2, 20:3.

    Vulnerability: Many pastors like to have pet prophets. Some use woman to achieve their goals.

  2. Court Prophets
    They can be relied on to support what the leaders say.
    1 Kings 22:10-13,22,23.

    Vulnerability: Many churches have tame/pet prophets.

  3. Hostile to Prophets
    Ahab attacked the prophets when challenged. He tried to destroy them
    1 Kings 13:4; 18:9, 14, 22:26,27
    He raised hand against the prophets.

    Vulnerability: Many prophets have been destroyed by Pastors.

  4. False Accusations
    He made false accusations against the prophets
    1 Kings 18:17, 21:20.

    Vulnerability: It is easy to spread rumours about prophets.

  5. Rejected Prophetic Challenge
    Ahab was unable to accept a challenge.
    1 Kings 17:1, 13:4.

    Vulnerability: Many Pastors do not like being challenged.

    Consequences

    The consequences of the Ahab/Jesebel complex are as follows.

  1. Isolation
    God was not with him.

    Vulnerability:Pastors can get isolated from their spiritual support.

  2. Spiritual drought
    1 King 17:1. Vulnerability: Spiritual poverty.

  3. Blown about like a reed
    Swaying like a reed in the water. 1 Kings 14:15
    Like sheep without a shepherd 1 Kings 22:17.

    Vulnerability: Open to the Jezebel spirit (1 Kings 16).

  4. Illness
    1 Kings 14:1; 13:6; 21:4
    Rev 2:22.

    Vulnerability: Many sick in the church.

  5. Depression, Suicidal
    Rev 2:22
    1 Kings 16:18; 21:4.

    Vulnerability: Many pastors are depressed.

  6. Failure
    God began to reduce the size of Israel In those days.
    2 Kings 10:32.

    Vulnerability: Many churches are declining.

  7. Died of Wounds
    Ahab was defeated
    1 Kings 22:35-37; 2 Kings 9:24; 8:28,29.
    He was routed. 2 Chron 13:12,15.
    God executed judgement on house of Ahab 2 Chron 22:8.

    Vulnerability: Many pastors die of their "wounds".

  8. Humiliation
    Blood licked by dogs
    1 Kings 14:10,11; 16:4; 21:24; 22:38; 2 Kings 9:10,36.

    Vulnerability: When pastors fall they are usually humiliated.