Church-Community Connection: What's your name? Who's your daddy?

Let me introduce you to a couple you may have heard about from your Sunday school days. The couple was once the king and queen of Israel. Their names were Ahab and Jezebel.

Most likely, you have heard about Jezebel. You wouldn’t have wanted to get on her wrong side. She was large and in charge even though her husband, Ahab, was the king of Israel. Jezebel means brazen, shameless or morally unrestrained without cohabitation. Her calling card would say, “Whether right or wrong, I get what I want.”

Here’s an incident that happened years ago. King Ahab, prone to childlike tantrums and coveting, saw a vineyard he wanted for a vegetable garden near his palace. Ahab’s problem was the vineyard was owned by a citizen named Naboth. So Ahab offered to buy the vineyard. But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.”

Ahab went home angry, sulking, refusing to eat. Jezebel asked Ahab why he was in a bad mood. Ahab told her what had happened. Jezebel responded, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” And get the vineyard, Jezebel did. Jezebel hired two “scoundrels” to lie and testify Naboth had cursed God and the king. So, the hired hands took Naboth outside the city and stoned him to death. Notice the pattern; lies, false witnesses, hired crowds and taking away property. I guess whatever “Lola wants, Lola gets” — for a while.

There’s a fundamental difference between weakness and wickedness. Ahab had fleshly ego-driven weaknesses. Jezebel was wicked. Ahab had an issue of the head. Jezebel had an issue of the heart. Ahab was clueless and spoiled. Jezebel was intentional and diabolical. Note that Ahabs and Jezebels are a type, not a gender. This example isn’t a male-female issue. There were heaps of Jezebel kings in Israel’s past. In this case, Ahab’s weakness was Jezebel’s passport into controlling a nation. Jezebel types look for weak people like Ahab to influence and control. You can’t be a puppeteer if you don’t have a puppet.

In one sense, each one empowered the other. Ahab’s self-absorption, spoiled childish ways, and slothfulness created space for Jezebel’s hubris and ambition. The wickedness in her ruled Israel through Ahab’s weakness. Ahab gave his authority or right to govern to Jezebel, and Jezebel gladly took it.

Together, they ruled Israel for years. God is patient, even with weak kings and wicked queens for a while. God gave them, as he gives us, every chance to make a turn and change for the better. But just because God is patient doesn’t mean God condones intentional dysfunctional behavior forever. At the appointed time, God sent a prophet named Elijah to make the king and queen aware their actions have consequences. Why did God prophetically warn them? Because the king and queen’s issues were hurting themselves, their people and the nation. That’s called love in action.

King Ahab got upset (again) that God’s message through Elijah was stopping him from getting his way all the time. Jezebel flew into a rage (again). How dare Elijah or God curtail Ahab and Jezebel’s ambitions? You don’t challenge the actions and attitudes of people like Jezebel without creating ramifications of rage. Jezebel types don’t get even. They get revenge. Puppeteers and people “without cohabitation” don’t like it when someone upsets their puppet.

Sometimes we think someone is wicked when they have a weakness. We see this in the play called “Wicked.” Conversely, we assume someone is weak when they are cruel. Don’t be too quick to judge. Learn to discern. Watch their example. Watch who is attracted to them and who is repelled by them. Is what they do primarily for your good or their desire? In other words, who’s their daddy?

The problem with any nation, society or community is it takes an Ahab to create a Jezebel. The character of the king or queen permeates the kingdom. Israel languished and mourned because of Ahab’s head and Jezebel’s heart for a while. But people like Ahab and Jezebel generally don’t end very well. These two “experts” eventually became ex-spurts … shooting stars that were bright for a moment and then quickly burnt up. God let the dogs out.

Let me quote a Bible verse about Jezebel that will surprise you. It’s Jesus talking about Jezebel. “And I gave her time to change directions, but she has no intention of changing directions…” Revelation 2:19. That’s love. Consider this, leaders and people aren’t punished for their mistakes. Leaders and people are punished by their mistakes.

I’m not being harsh or hardhearted here. On the contrary, this article is exhortation and encouragement. I’m just trying to make us aware of real life. We all have weaknesses, but some have just a bit more weaknesses than others. That could be dangerous, whoever we are. Why? Because the more weaknesses we have, the more desirable we are for weak or even wicked people who need more vulnerable people to advance their agenda.

Don’t run from God to the “daddy” of weakness or wickedness. Instead, run to God, the daddy of wellness. Transform your weakness or your wickedness into wellness. Be empowered for life abundantly. Then you will know “what’s your name” (it’s not weakness or wickedness) and “who’s your daddy.” God’s not dead, God’s dad.

God loves you, and he approved this message.

Ed Delph is a noted author of 10 books, as well as a pastor, teacher, former business owner and speaker. He has traveled extensively, having been to more than 100 countries. He is president of NationStrategy, a nonprofit organization involved in uplifting and transforming communities worldwide. He may be contacted at nationstrategy@cs.com. For more info, see nationstrategy.com.