Scripture: 1 Kings 21:1-16
Key verses: (5-7) “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.’ But he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard for money.”
Reflection: Sometimes when I read a text from the Bible, I think to myself, “Really, this is in the Bible, where is God in all of this, what is this about?” And then after I pause, it hits me, and the text is peering back at me reflecting my own life. I haven’t been in Charlotte long, but every day when I turn on the radio and make my way to work I hear about Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis, or displacement, or tearing down the old to build the new. Do you hear our story within these biblical words of 1 Kings? Do you hear the struggle of Ahab and Naboth in your life? Where do you feel the pull between development and family land, between the powerful and the powerless, between the individual and the systems that control them?
Even when it doesn’t feel like it, God is present in these messy situations. Most notably, God is present as sovereign over all of creation. As a theological talking point, God’s sovereignty is not necessarily a fan favorite, it is not often talked about as much as grace, love, mercy. However, remembering and living into God’s sovereignty is so important for our lives, especially as typically type A personalities who love to live into our plans. God’s sovereignty is something that we often forget when surrounded with good health, wealth, and power to make our own decisions. When it seems like we are in control of our own lives we are often tempted to forget that God is in control, not us. We see Ahab and Jezebel forgetting their place in creation, forgetting that God is sovereign, not them. And this forgetfulness comes to a climax in Ahab’s tantrum when he doesn’t get what he wants, he storms off to his room, lies on his bed, and refuses to eat. Sound like any toddlers or teenagers you know? Sound like any adults you know?
Why is it so hard to hear no? When we actually stop and think about the “no’s” in our lives, I think they can be a helpful reminder that we are in fact not in control, that we have limits and boundaries. These boundaries are often in place to help us, and God’s boundaries are almost always in place to promote justice and peace and to protect the vulnerable. These boundaries also give us a break to rest, remembering that God who created heaven and earth is in control, and that we can rest in God’s capable and loving hands.
Prayer: Creator God, forgive us for the places we try to take over, to push you aside and be rulers of our own lives. Help us, O God, to see and experience your grace when we hear no, and guide us each and every day. May we rest in your sovereign grace, trusting in your goodness for all. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].
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