1 Kings 20

V. 1, evidently Benhadad was a powerful king. He had 32 other kings serving him.

2-3, benhadad here lays claim to Ahab's silver, gold, wives, children, even the goodliest, that which Ahab held dear. (He should have let Ben have his wife.)

4. Ahab agrees as he seeks to avoid war by returning a soft answer to Benhadad. Of course, instead of bowing to Benhadad's demands, Ahab should have cried out to the Lord. Mount Carmel should have been fresh in his mind.

How quickly we forget the victory in Christ, and his power when we face a strong adversary.

The temptation is to compromise, rather than to cry out to God. Ahab compromised.

Vv. 13, 14, Ahab knew who the Lord was.
Chapter 21, Ahab was a morally good man. However, he was willing to profit from another's sin.

21:27-29, Ahab knew who the Lord was. He never denied the Lord.

But Ahab did not cry out to the Lord. He chose the easy way out. I know people by the score who would rather lose their silver and gold, wives, children and all they hold precious than to humble themselves before the Lord God, even though they know they have no strength in themselves.

Unsaved people would rather go to hell than to surrender their pride.

12/12/84– I was speaking with a young couple last night, Carl & Mary Meininger. They belonged to FBC. He taught SS there a couple of years ago, and told of his first lesson. It was on salvation. He was met very soon by the chairman of the deacon board who said, "Now Carl. We don't want you to leave the church, but the pastor has received two phone calls about your SS lesson. I don't know what you said, but you need to be more careful."

A group of people would rather go to hell than admit they do not have anything – no strength, no power – on their own.

V. 5. Benhadad was not sastified with the answer of v. 4. Now he wants v. 6, whatever is good in Ahab's eyes. They ar etoign to search the kingdom, and take whatsoever is pleasant in Ahab's eyes. Here they are going to take the spoils of war without a war.

V. 6, once we compromise, the compromise continues. The one compromised with will demand more and more.

Christians who compromise in one area will lose out in every other area. The conflict they sought to avoid by compromise will have to be faced sooner or later, e.g., compromise on the job will lead to more compromise.

The pride will be dealt with, either here or there, for every knee will bow and every tongue confiess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It is much better to bow the knee now to Christ than to protect what the world holds important – pride.

Churches can compromise on the incorporation or on the SS form 8274, but the conflict avoided will be faced sooner or later, as Benhadad demands more and more. Benhadad will not be satisfied until he owns it all, including Ahab's worship. Benhadad has every intention here of making Ahab king #33 who serves him, v. 1. the individual can compromise, but the battle will be faced. The question his, how much of an unlawful demand will have to be made by the State before we will say, That's all, no more?

V. 7, Ahab calls together the leaders of the land – This man seeketh mischief." Talk about an understatement.

Evidently, Benhadad wanted war. He must have though Ahab would have resisted the first demand, which would have caused Benhadad to move. But Ahab did not, so now Benhadad makes the second demand. If Ahab had submitted to this demand, Benhadad would have gone further to get his war. Maybe the army was hungry, and he needed to pay them by attacking another nation, for the spoils of war belonged to the army.

Why did not Ahab do v. 7 back at v. 4?

We could give Ahab the benefit of the doubt, and say that as long as it was against him personally, he would submit, but when the demand affected his people, he had to stand. Because he loved them, and looked out for their good. But I don't think this was his motive. That would be too much out of his character, although we really don't have anything bad spoken of Ahab. It was his wife that kept things stirred up and in a boil all the time.

V. 8, Ahab says, "I told him he could have all of what pleased him. Now, he wants everything that pleases me."

The Elders say, "NO!"

Vv. 9, 10. Ahab tells Benhadad, "You have demanded too much. We will not meet your demand."

Benhadad's response is the same as Jezebel's. He boasts of what he is going to do. The person who gets it done is the one who does it not the one who brags about it.

Benhadad sure is not acting like a powerful monarch who has subdued 32 kings. You would think he would be more of a doer than a brager.

V. 11. Ahab certainly had his faults, primarily that he was "hen-pecked": his wife ruled the roost. But I sure like his response here: Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.

If this is not a wise proverb, I don't know what is. Don't brag about what you are going to do. This is a tremendous illustration and application of James 4:13, 14.

V. 12, here is the problem. A powerful king as Benhadad, King of Syria, with an army beyond counting, DRUNK. He is making his decision from a bar stool. How many decision today that affect international policies are made from a barstool, a cocktail party where many are drunk? We wold be shocked if we knew. This is the advantage of centralized government. The people who run the central government can hide their wickedness from those they are to whom they are to report.


It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts here are the facts about the three candidates.

Candidate A.
Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologist. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B.
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C.
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife. Which of these candidates would be your choice? Decide first... no peeking, then scroll down for the response.

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember: Amateurs...built the ark.
Professionals...built the Titanic

And Finally, can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

* 29 have been accused of spousal abuse
* 7 have been arrested for fraud
* 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
* 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
* 3 have done time for assault
* 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
* 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
* 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
* 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
* 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year...

Can you guess which organization this is?

Give up yet?

It's the 535 members of the United States Congress. The same group that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

V. 13. God does not give up easily. He sends word to Ahab that He will deliver His people. Notice why He will show Himself strong: Not for Ahab's righteousness, but for Syria's wickedness. (Deuteronomy 9:4, 5.) And to speak to Ahab: For thou shalt know that I am the LORD.

Here the man that persecuted the prophets of God is in a bind. Now he again will listen to the messenger of God. NOTICE: the more prosperous a person, the harder they are to talk to with a message from the Lord.

Also, as people like to quote, Romans 6:14, not under law but under grace... to release the Christian from the books of the law, we see that there is no more of an illustration than v. 13 to show that Ahab was under grace also. God worked in the Old Testament the same as in the New. Through Grace.

The passage in Romans? Grace is the will and power to please God. Grace is given in the New Testament by the Holy Spirit. Here Ahab is rescued by the Grace of God and nothing else.

Vv. 14, 15. Who? 232 young men against the host of Syria.

If there is any principle laid down in Scripture, this is. God works through the weak things of this world. What the world considers unqualified is what God uses.

There are more Old and New Testament illustrations of God working through the weak things than we can put on paper. Notice here that Ahab did not doubt God would preform this very thing that He spoke here. He should not doubt after everything he had seen God preform, but Ahab still would not turn to the Lord, and worship at Jerusalem as required by law.

V. 16. The conquest was not by warriors but by wine. Wine, strong drink, has captured some of the greatest generals in history. Alexander conquered the world, but wine conquered him.


Of course, God knew about the wine with Benhadad, but Ahab did not. So God uses even wine for his own purpose and praise.

Vv. 17-21. The 232 young men came out. It was told Benhadad, and of all things, he makes a completely unreasonable demand of his army – under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol gives a false sense of pride and security, which caught Benhadad here.

Take them alive... Can any force succeed with such a restriction?

Syria cannot fight. A restricted war cannot be won, no matter how strong the army. America has two examples: Korea and Viet-Naum. Both had restrictions, and America was ‘defeated' by a much smaller and poorer force.

Why did Benhadad restrict the army? God told him to, though he would certainly deny the fact of God's sovereignty.

And they slew every one his man...

The world can be won for Christ. The "232" have god on their side. The vast multitudes on the other side are well equipped and dedicated. They are seeking the spoils of war, which was how an army was paid. They took what they could in battle.

How can it be won? If every man would slay his man. The war can only be won by a one on one conflict. If every Christian, at the direction of the Spirit, would take one person. Pray for that person, be friends and work with them until God delivers that person into the one's hands. Then train that person to enter into the warfare also.

The 232 could conquer the world (within 15 years, they could conquer a 121,634,816 man army at just one a year).

God's plan is every man his man. Where is the break down? Every man is not slaying his man. Instead, we withdraw back into our cities, lock the gates, and dare Benhadad to come after us.

He does, even in his drunken state, and gets the silver, gold, wives and children. In fact, we do worse than that. He says, "Give this tome, or I will kill you, or put you out of business." So like Ahab, we say "Come and get it, only let me live."

The 232 men can win the victory, if everyone will be responsible. The "232" men must be trained in the ways warfare, so they can be victorious, each over his man.

God gave the victory.

If God will give the victory to a man such as Ahab, think how much more willing he is to work through us in order to reach our one.

Are there not a couple of problems here?

First, many think that victory is beyond our reach in this age.

Second, how many are willing to be consistent in pursuing the one?

Answer: Ask God to move in our hearts to give us the confidence to work with just one, and to supply the one to work with – be a friend, show genuine interest, be there when needed, and we can get the one.

Vv22ff. God tells Ahab Benhadad's plans even before Benhadad makes them. God has delivered Ahab, but Ahab is to make plans for the next round.

Benhadad listens to his advisers – they could not believe what had happened: 232 men killed a 127,000 man army. (Vv. 28, 29.) Benhadad puts together another army, man for man. (232 young men led Ahab's 7000 man army against the 127,000 Syrians. Vv. 17-19.)

Once again, God moves for his glory (v. 28), bringing the total to 227,000 men of Syria that the 7,232 man army has destroyed. God is not restricted by numbers. We are the ones that restrict him. Ahab and his 7,232 wait the 7 days, showing their complete dependance upon the Lord.

V. 30, the remainder of Syria's army fled to Aphek. They sough shelter, but found destruction. A wall falls on 27,000 men.

Benhadad fled. His boasting turns into fear as he flees for his life. God has a way of removing our boasting. In fact, the very thing we boast in may well be our downfall. Take heed ye think ye stand, lest ye fall.

V. 31. We have heard they are merciful... How true. The KING OF ISRAEL is a merciful King. He delights in mercy. He delights to save lives. He delights in setting the captives free.

V. 32. But his delight and mercy will not override his justice. Benhadad showed grief over his actions toward Ahab, but not grief over his rebellion against the God of Israel, who gave the victory. (V. 23.)

V. 36. Hast not obeyed... a lion will slay thee. Remember the disobedient prophet. The lion slew him also. Whether a layman (v. 35 here), or a prophet of God, the result is the same. Disobedience to the word of the Lord puts us in the realm of the lion.

V. 40. Busy here and there, and we lose the very thing we have been charged with. We got too busy with the unimportant, and lose the important.

V. 43. Instead of repenting, he went home, and felt sorry for himself.

If we as Christians make any compromise with the world (Benhadad), no matter if:

1. Out of mercy, v. 31
2. Out of fear or desire to avoid a battle, vv. 6, 7

there will be a price to pay. It may take awhile for the law of sowing and reaping to catch up, but it will.

It took Saul's sin 38 years to catch up.

V. 36, it only 10 or 15 minutes for ti to catch up with this man.

God's wheels of justice may grind slow, but hey grind sure, and grind fine – nothing escapes them.

We get too busy to serve God and to dedicate what belongs to him to him. It will catch up.