Some think that the Old Testsament is just God’s book of judgment. The slightest sin meant that God did the person in. But the more I read the Old Testament the more I’m getting the opposite of this. God’s heart is a heart of great mercy.
Ahab was one of the most evil kings of all over Israel. Wicked in every day and far worse than his ancestors which seemed almost impossible. But to wake him up God sent Elijah to dual with the gods of Baal and Asherah, and God showed himself powerful.
But the LORD didn’t stop there. The King of Aram mustered its armies against Israel and God delivered Israel from their hand so that they would know still even further that he was Yahweh (1 Kings 20:13). Then Aram came against him again and again God deliver evil Ahab to show him that he was the LORD (1 Kings 20:28). Over and over God continued to show himself to Ahab, delivering him and revealing to himself as LORD.
But Ahab continued to rebel. He did not obey the LORD and so the LORD had enough. He decreed to Ahab that he would die because he did not do the things that God said for him to do.
STILL Ahab persisted. A man named Naboth had his farm right next to Ahab’s palace. Ahab wanted it but Naboth refused as it was family farm for generation. With his wife’s initiation and help, they killed Naboth to get his property. The wickedness didn’t end.
“Still, there was no one like Ahab, who devoted himself to do what was evil in the LORD’s sight, because his wife Jezebel incited him. He committed the most detestable acts by going after idols as the Amorites had, whom the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites” (1 Kings 21:25).
Over and over God extends mercy. But there comes a time when time is up. It’s a time when God says enough. When people think God is judgmental in the Old Testament, they did read the times beforehand when he is showing mercy, inviting people to repentance. But as soon as God says enough, he is being “judgmental.” We would not think of an earthly judge like this. In fact, we would be angry if he or she didn’t give justice.
God is no pushover. He is holy and righteous and it is only who he is that He shows any mercy. He would be good if he only and ever brought justice, but he delights to show mercy.
And if in the story of Ahab this isn’t made more clear, Ahab when he said he would eliminate him and his family for his evil, Ahab finally repented. He put on sackcloth and ashes and humbled himself before the LORD. And would you believe it? This wicked, wicked man was shown mercy by God (1 Kings 21:28-29).