Naboth and the Vineyard
Dale Ralph Davies at Keswich 2009
1 Kings 21
This chapter is about four things:
This is how it will be for Christians in the world, wicked people will come and do terrible things to them.
They will have false accusations thrown at them.
Tells the story of Richard Wurmbrandt, after 12 years in a Romanian prison, being released but no longer having a license to preach. In his last new members class in the country, whilst he was being followed by members of the secret police, he took the members of the class to the Bucharest zoo, and he took them to the lion cage, and he told them, this is what the Christians must expect.
This is fearsome. The lion’s mouth.
Talked about the story of JFK’s mother who used to throw newspapers out the window, whenever the driver used to complain, because this was a federal offence, she would say “They know who we are.”
Notice that much of this trouble comes from the government
Respect the government, obey the government, pray for the government, but never trust the government. Ronald Reagan said the nine scariest words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Told the story of the baseball game in the 1960s where the umpire said “Safe” but signalled “out”
The two players said to the umpire “So which is it, safe or out”
The umpire replies “Only three of us heard me say “safe” but 55,000 people saw me signal “out”, so the batting player was out.
This is story about how others cave under pressure.
And so it also was with Naboth, and so it was for Jesus
Who was condemned though having done nothing wrong
On the say-so of two false witnesses.
Davies argues that there is consolation here, despite the fact that Naboth is killed, because God does indeed see.
He talks about the Dalith Christian who once was written about by Chris Wright in Themelios who had become a Christian because he read that God was a God of vengeance on those who had had their lands taken unjustly
So it is that God sees the Christian villagers in Burma who have to clear minefields for the military
And so it is that God sees the Christians in Pakistan who are raped and attacked by extremists.
There is something to contend with here. The difference between mysterious and marvellous grace. Why does Elijah get saved here, and Naboth does not? Why does Peter get saved in Acts, but James does not?
And God sees what happens to Naboth.
This is the God who loves to show mercy.
Tells the story of an old lawyer in St. George’s West who went to Alexander Whyte looking for a word for an old man, and Whyte said “he delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18)
Elijah might be saying “Look at that, you are not fooled by that God, are you?”
But God loves to be merciful.