THE FAITHFULNESS OF NABOTH

By Cougan Collins

lgchurchofchrist@cableone.net

 

"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).

 

Wicked king Ahab of Israel wanted to buy Naboth's vineyard adjacent to his palace (1 Kgs. 21:1-29). Naboth's integrity and faithfulness to the Law (Lev. 25:23-28) made him refuse the king's offer. "The Lord forbid me that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers" (1 Kgs. 21:3).

 

Consider the faith in God that Naboth had to courageously say "no" to the king.  He lived in a lawless land, surrounded by violence (1 Kgs. 21:22). Tragically, doing the right thing before God cost him his life, along with his sons (2 Kgs. 9:26).

 

Imagine Naboth's horror, as a God-fearing Jew, when Jezebel's lying thugs "frame him" for alleged blasphemy. He's unjustly stoned and killed, for standing up for the right thing. How tragic!

 

All 19 of Israel's kings were idolatrous rulers, who "who made Israel sin" (1 Kgs. 14:16). Remarkably, there were still faithful Jews in Israel like Naboth. Elijah was told there were "seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to Baal" (1 Kgs. 19:18). Like Naboth, they were loyal to God, regardless. Right is still right, and wrong is still wrong, regardless.

 

Do we resent life's unfairness, especially when we suffer for doing the right thing? Faith is not thinking God will always do what I want, but He will always do what is ultimately right in His perfect will. Short-term misfortunes do not nullify His eternal faithfulness. God used Ahab's and Jezebel's evil seizure of Naboth's vineyard as the occasion for their judgment and downfall (1 Kgs. 21:18).

 

Hebrews 11 immortalizes the faithful: "by faith...others...were stoned" (Heb. 11:33, 37). This applies to Naboth's faithfulness. While some were delivered by God from oppression (Heb. 11:32-35), "others...were ill-treated...gained approval through their faith" (Heb. 11:35-39). We must be faithful to God and His higher purposes, regardless if we get any short-term benefits.

 

Faith knows all wrongs will be righted at last. Divine glory abundantly compensates all of life's temporary losses. The apostle Paul, who suffered much to be faithful to the Lord, said, "I do not consider the suffering of this present age worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed" (Rom. 8:18).

 

The only thing that counts in the end is if we die right with God. So, I find Naboth's faithfulness to God, regardless of the temporal consequences, very encouraging. We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity lgchurchofchrist.com.

This article was written by W. Frank Walton.