Text Messages

Text Messages focus on the backstory of the upcoming text for this Sunday’s sermon. Provided by our pastors, these messages will give some background on that section of scripture text and give a few hints about where the sermon might be going. We hope you find these Text Messages helpful!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

SERIES:
“Old School”

MESSAGE THEME:
“Integrity”

TEXT:
1 Kings 21:1–21a

Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. And Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.” Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, “I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.

His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?” He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it’; but he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” His wife Jezebel said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. She wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him to death.” The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.” As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying: Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria; he is now in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. You shall say to him, “Thus says the Lord: Have you killed, and also taken possession?” You shall say to him, “Thus says the Lord: In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will also lick up your blood.” Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you. Because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, I will bring disaster on you; I will consume you, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel.

REFLECTION:
From Pastor Chris Enstad

The story of Naboth’s vineyard challenges us to consider our integrity, the responsible use of power, and the consequences of our actions. In today’s world, it is taken as an article of faith that the rich and powerful seem to operate outside the moral requirements of community and care.  While it is not surprising to learn that this has happened since the beginning of recorded time, it can also cause frustration, apathy, and anger towards each other and our neighbors.  Naboth’s steadfastness reminds us to uphold our values. Ahab and Jezebel’s actions warn us against the corrupting influence of power. Elijah’s prophecy encompasses all this, underscoring the “old school” truth: God holds us accountable for our actions as well as our lack of action.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  • How can you uphold your integrity in challenging situations?
  • How might you use your influence to promote justice and righteousness?

PRAYER:
Gracious and Just God, We come before You with humble hearts, seeking Your wisdom and guidance. Help us to live lives of integrity and to stand firm in our values, even when it is challenging. Grant us the courage to use our influence for good and to resist the temptations of power and corruption. May we always be mindful of the consequences of our actions and seek to live in ways that honor You and bring justice to our world.

Forgive us for the times we have fallen short and been complicit in wrongdoing. Lead us on paths of righteousness and help us to build communities that reflect Your love and justice. May we be guided by Your Spirit and strengthened by Your grace in all things.