Last week, while discussing my kids Bible class lessons I was
intrigued. Tessa was learning about David coveting Uriahís wife.
Ethan was learning about Ahab coveting Nabothís vineyard. If we
just take a look back through history, we may not think much about
David and his connection to Ahab. However, when we put them side
by side we see that these two characters have a lot in common. So
much so, that when we notice how differently God dealt with them,
we are pressed to ask, ďWhatís the difference?Ē We can learn
some important lessons from comparing and contrasting these two
David and Ahab.
and Ahab coveted what belonged to another. (II
Samuel 11:2-3; I Kings 21:1-6).
what they coveted from their palace (II
Samuel 11:2; I Kings 21:1).
had what they were coveting (I
Chronicles 3:1-3,9; I Kings 21:2).
in order to have what they coveted (II
Samuel 11:14-17; I Kings 21:8-16, 19).
was sent to both (II
Samuel 12:1ff; I Kings 21:17ff).
is decreed upon the house of both (II
Samuel 12:10-12; I Kings 21:21-24).
repented of their sins (II
Samuel 12:13; I Kings 21:27-29).
Yet, on the
judgment day which one of these two do you want to be? I want to
be David. I donít want to be Ahab. From the general Bible
picture of these two men, it will go well with David in judgment,
but not so for Ahab. The question we ask is, with so many
similarities regarding these sins, ďWhatís the difference?Ē
affected permanently by his repentance, Ahab was not.
There is no
doubt that Davidís experience affected him permanently.
We see how
David handled the death of Bathshebaís first son in II
Samuel 12:15-23. David was willing to submit to the
consequences of his sin.
beyond this, years later when David received the further
punishment promised in II
Samuel 12:10-12, David also accepted this humbly still
leaning on God. When Absalom rebelled and nearly stole the kingdom
from David, we see a telling experience in Davidís life. In II
Samuel 16:5-13. David recognized this was the fulfillment
of Nathanís prophecy. He accepted it humbly in hope that God
would look upon him and return good to him.
a subtle but interesting point is to be made from I
Chronicles 3:5. David and Bathshebaís third son was
named after the prophet who pronounced judgment upon David for his
sin, Nathan. This demonstrates Davidís relationship with Godís
messenger and also with God. David was a friend of God after his
however, was not affected permanently.
great sin was idolatry (I
Kings 16:29-33). Despite his repentance and humility
before Jehovah in the case of Nabothís vineyard, Ahab was still
an idolater who followed false prophets. In I
Kings 22:4-7, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were going to war
against the Arameans in Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoshaphat wanted to
consult the Lord. So Ahab produced 400 prophets. However, when
they were finished, Jehoshaphat recognized they were all
idolatrous prophets. He still wanted to hear from one prophet of
unlike David, Ahab did not develop a friendship with Godís true
prophets. Therefore, he did not develop a relationship with God. I
Kings 22:8 demonstrates the kind of relationship Ahab had
with Godís prophets. Ahab himself said he hated the true prophet
of God, Micaiah. Ahab had humbled himself before God for a certain
crime. But he had not changed his life to a life of humility
There is no
doubt Ahabís repentance was true in I
Kings 21:27-29. God testifies to its sincerity. However,
it was limited in scope. In time, Ahab returned to his rebellious
represents us: David or Ahab? Many people find themselves in the
shoes of these two men, having committed a sin and face to face
with the drastic consequences. The weight of their guilt comes
crashing down on them. They humble themselves before God and seek
forgiveness. However, after a time they have not developed a
relationship with God. Therefore they return to rebellion. We must
humble ourselves completely before God, developing a relationship
with Him, devoting ourselves to prayer and His word as the
Christians in Acts
sin was an incident in his life, Ahabís was a habit.
Samuel that David was a man after His own heart in I
Samuel 13:14. Additionally, we see the life of David from
the time he demonstrated his faith in God with Goliath to the time
he demonstrated his faith in God when Saul tried to kill him to
the time he demonstrated faith in God when Absalom rebelled.
Davidís life was filled with service to God. Yet, David, like
all men, was not perfect. He sinned. The sin with Bathsheba and
Uriah is a regrettable example. However, Davidís habit was to
serve God; this sin was the exception.
Ahab on the
other hand was a sinner from the word go. The sin with Naboth was
simply a part of his habit. The story of Ahab begins by saying he
did more evil than all those kings who went before him in I
Kings 16:30. This is repeated in I
Kings 21:25-26. Yes, Ahab did some things right, as all
people do. His repentance after Elijah rebuked him is an example
of this. However, Ahabís habit was to sin, this righteousness in
repentance was the exception.
illustration I have used before is that of painting. There are two
kinds of painters. There is the painter so called because that is
his job and his life. But there is also the painter who is so
called because he has painted before. Painting is not my lifeís
work. Therefore, I am not a painter in that sense. However, I have
painted and will probably paint again sometime. Therefore, I am a
painter in the second sense. Ahab was a sinner in the first sense,
it was his lifeís work. David was a sinner in the second sense.
That is, he had sinned and would probably sin again but it wasn't
his lifeís work. His habit was serving God.
about this in Romans
6:1-18. We are no longer slaves to sin and we must not
present ourselves to sin as its slaves. Paul was dealing with an
objection that encouraged Christians to strive to sin so Godís
grace would increase. Paul explained when Christians get back into
their old habits and become slaves to sin again, Godís grace
doesnít increase, it leaves. John also refers to this, attacking
the Gnostics in I
John 3:6-10; 5:18. To understand this verse we must
understand its context. John is teaching against a heresy which
taught the physical body was fully sinful and could not be
changed. Therefore, the mind simply had to be right with Christ
but the body was going to sin no matter what. Therefore, a group
of so-called ďChristiansĒ existed saying they were born of God
but they were habitually engaging in all manner of sin claiming
they couldnít help themselves. But John, demonstrating the
fallacy of this teaching, says those born of God do not sin. The
term translated ďsinĒ in these texts refers to a habit of
sinning, continual repetition of sin. This is exactly what the
heretics were professing was righteous. This is exactly what Ahab
did. John says Christians donít behave that way. He is not
saying Christians never ever sin. In fact, in I
John 1:8-10, John says we all sin. The question is where
are we walking, in the light or in darkness, where is our
continual path (I
In their similarities, we are often like David and Ahab. We
too have sinned. We too have faced the consequences of our sins.
The question is, in their differences who will we be like: David
or Ahab? Will we strive to grow as Peter encourages us in II
Peter 1:5-8 as David did, adding virtue and self-control,
making serving God our habit or will we go back to Ahabís
example allowing sin to be our habit in life?
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ