Naboth’s Spiritual Heritage

We’ve spent a couple of weeks considering the question of suffering, and Satan’s efforts to draw Job from God. Satan believes we all have a price, and, at some point, we will sell God out. In this lesson, we’re going to look at another way Satan tries to find our breaking point, and it begins in In I Kings 21 when Ahab tries to procure the vineyard owned by Naboth. When Ahab tells his wife for Naboth’s rejection, Jezebel appeals to his pride and conspires to kill Naboth. Once he is dead, Ahab takes possession of the vineyard.

Ahab does not have Naboth’s interests in mind at any point in these events. Ahab considers only himself. His first offer is reasonable, even generous, but the problem lies in the uncountable value of the vineyard to Naboth. He seeks to find Naboth’s price, but Ahab finds the Jezreelite has none. Back in Leviticus 25:23-28, God sets a provision that God’s land may not be sold permanently at any time. Any land sold can be redeemed at any time, or it is returned in a Year of Jubilee. The land handed down generation to generation is to stay in the family. Naboth honors God’s law regarding land. He does not sell his heritage.

A Spiritual Heritage

Notice Naboth’s concept of heritage and inheritance. It is more than what comes down from his ancestors. It is more than something he will pass on to his descendants. He recognizes that his heritage is from God. We sometimes sing the song “Faith of Our Fathers,” reminding us that we have a spiritual heritage, that we are spiritual children with a spiritual inheritance. We create a continuous chain from generation to generation that we cannot sell or buy as Naboth could not sell the vineyard passed down in his family.

We receive our faith through those who have come before us, and we pass that heritage unto others as Paul sees Timothy as his son in the faith. The challenge is whether we will stand like Naboth, refusing to be bought out, or will Satan find our price? Back in I Kings 21, there is an interesting contrast between Naboth and Ahab. Nothing Ahab can offer will move Naboth, but after Naboth’s death, Elijah tells Ahab that the king has sold himself to evil in verse 20.

What would we have done in Naboth’s position? Would we have acquiesced to the king, to the path of least resistance? Would we have seen the potential to expand our business or pay off other debts? Could Ahab had found our price, or would we have justified giving in due to the evil of Jezebel and Ahab? Without our convictions, we have nothing. We cannot sacrifice our spiritual heritage.

Never Deserting Our Post

Elijah Lovejoy was a journalist who opposed slavery in Illinois back in the 1800s. One night, because of the large volume of anti-slavery editorials he had published, and angry mob tracked him down and shot him. On the memorial, his words are recorded, “I am impelled in the course I have taken because I fear God…I can die at my post but I cannot desert.” He was killed over his printing press.

We let the things of this world keep us from our spiritual familiy. We teach our children that recreation is more important than the Lord’s work. We let our possessions cloud our morals. In our jobs, we go along with things we know that are wrong to avoid making waves. In doing these things, we devalue our spiritual heritage. We show it can be bought with a price. Hebrews 11:32-40 calls on us to reflect the faith demonstrated in our spiritual forefathers, to continue and perfect the work they started. We owe it to those who came before us, to those who come after us, to our Savior, and to ourselves, to never sell out.

I Corinthians 6:20 tells us we have been bout with a price – the blood of Christ. We have been purchased by God to be his own. Our redemption is beyond value. We should strive to be like Naboth in our struggle against temptation, never deserting our post and never selling out to the devil.

lesson by Tim Smelser