“Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:6 NKJV).
One of the most shocking incidents in the Bible is the usurping of the vineyard of Naboth by Ahab the King of Samaria with the aid of his terrible wife, Jezebel.
Naboth had a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab. The vineyard was the inheritance of Naboth’s fathers and he cherished it greatly.
But, it happened that the King coveted Naboth’s vineyard and approached him, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.” (1 Kings 21:2 NKJV).
But Naboth declined all the king’s offers, saying, “The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” (1 Kings 21:3 NKJV).
However, as a result of his foolishness, not only did Naboth lose his most cherished vineyard, he lost his life, too.
What was Naboth’s foolishness?
It is wisdom on our own part today to find out, so as to avoid making or repeating such a foolishness or stupid mistake.
When Naboth refused to either sell his vineyard to Ahab or exchange it for another vineyard, Ahab went home sullen and displeased, refusing to eat any food.
When Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, found out the cause of his moodiness, she comforted him by promising to give him the vineyard of Naboth.
Therefore, Jezebel concocted a plot to kill Naboth and give his vineyard to her husband. The plot entailed enticing Naboth with bait he could not resist and then kill him after he had swallowed up the bait.
What was the bait?
The bait was offering Naboth a seat of honour and prominence which he did not deserve among the people!
Unfortunately, Naboth swallowed the bait. Afterwards, two false witnesses rose up who accused him of blaspheming God and the King. Naboth was found guilty and then stoned to death and his vineyard usurped by Ahab.
1 Kings 21:
7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
8 And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth.
9 She wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people;
10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.
11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.
12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people.
13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.
14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”
15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”
16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. (NKJV).
The devil today, through his many agents, is still in the business of offering gullible and lustful people enticing baits in order to destroy them and usurp or seize their God-given inheritances from them.
Although both Ahab and Jezebel acted wickedly and were later punished severely by God, yet Naboth also acted foolishly. Jezebel’s plot against Naboth would have failed woefully if Naboth had not swallowed Jezebel’s bait by jumping at the offer of a sudden and undeserved seat of honour and prominence among the people.
Jezebel simply exploited Naboth’s craving and passion for position, honour and preeminence among the people. Without doing anything, Naboth was suddenly called upon to sit on a high seat, and without any hesitation he accepted as though he had been waiting for it. That was Naboth’s foolishness and it cost him both his life and his vineyard!
What a lesson for us today!
Beloved, as seen in the case of Naboth, foolishness can cost you your life and all that you cherish in life. This is why the Scripture admonishes you to, “Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.” (Prov. 9:6 NKJV).
No doubt if Naboth had forsaken foolishness, he would have lived!
Your vineyard today could be your God-given vision, dream, calling, ministry, assignment or gifting. Whatever God, your heavenly Father, has given you to cultivate, harness, or use to bear fruits unto His glory is your vineyard and it is your primary responsibility to cherish, defend, protect, or watch over it.
Like Naboth, you must learn to always decline any offer to sell, exchange or mortgage your destiny in life. However, unlike Naboth, you must not jump at or swallow the devil’s bait. Beware of making Naboth’s stupid mistake!
Although Naboth had no intention to let go of the vineyard his father had given him, yet his inordinate lust or craving for honour and preeminence would not allow him to keep it. Jezebel only exploited the lust in Naboth’s heart to tempt, manipulate and destroy him.
The devil will always tempt you through the lust in your heart!
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (NKJV).
Friend, any lust, evil craving, inordinate desire, or fleshly passion in your soul which you fail to deal with now is what the devil will later exploit to tempt you, set you up, usurp your inheritance, and eventually destroy you, just as Jezebel did to Naboth.
Without any lust, inordinate passion or carnal desire lingering or lurking in your soul, the devil cannot manipulate, entice, tempt, or trap you. You are only tempted when you are drawn away by your own lust or desire (Jam. 1:14).
Your lust or inordinate passion for fame, position, honour, power, preeminence, money, sex, food, or any material possession could be exploited by the devil to usurp and waste your life, marriage, business or ministry. Beware!
Are you presently struggling with any lust or excessive passion in your soul?
Tarry in God’s presence (in the place of prayer and study of God’s Word) until His consuming fire purges your soul from every lust (Mal. 3:2-3)!
Immerse your mind continually in God’s Word until the water of the Word washes, cleanses, purifies and sanctifies your mind. It is the truth of God’s Word that sanctifies, purifies, restores or saves the soul (Eph. 5:26, John 15:3, 17:17)!
James admonishes, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (Jam. 1:21 NKJV).
You also need to constantly or continually yield yourself to the Holy Spirit!
Paul admonishes you to, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Gal. 5:16-17 NKJV).
Forsake foolishness and live!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, help me to discover and deal with any hidden inordinate lust or desire in my soul before the devil uses it to tempt and trap me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.