23in the thirty-first year of Asa's rule in Judah.
Omri ruled Israel for twelve years. The first six years he ruled from Tirzah, 24then he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for 6,000 pieces of silver. He built a town there and named it Samaria, after Shemer who had owned the hill.
25Omri did more evil things than any king before him. 26He acted just like Jeroboam and made the Lord God of Israel angry by causing the Israelites to sin and to worship idols.
27Everything else Omri did while he was king, including his brave deeds, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 28Omri died and was buried in Samaria, and his son Ahab became king.
King Ahab of Israel
29Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa's rule in Judah, and he ruled 22 years from Samaria.
30Ahab did more things to disobey the Lord than any king before him. 31He acted just like Jeroboam. Even worse, he married Jezebel the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon and started worshiping Baal. 32Ahab built an altar and temple for Baal in Samaria 33and set up a sacred pole for worshiping the goddess Asherah. Ahab did more to make the Lord God of Israel angry than any king of Israel before him.
34 While Ahab was king, a man from Bethel named Hiel rebuilt the town of Jericho. But while Hiel was laying the foundation for the town wall, his oldest son Abiram died. And while he was finishing the gates, his youngest son Segub died. This happened just as the Lord had told Joshua to say many years ago.
As we see in this story, the kings of Israel went from bad to worse as they moved away from the Lord altogether. They led the Israelites into some increasingly terrible heathen practices, like those of the Canaanites whom God chased away under the leadership of Joshua. Not only did they separate themselves from the Lord, they started building temples to idols worshipped by foreign people. This culminated under the strong influence of Jezebel, wife of Ahab, who became the sworn enemy of the prophet Elijah.
The Bible is a book which tells the story of the descendants of Jacob without embellishing the facts. We find in it the noblest deeds, such as those of Moses, as well as the worst actions, such as Jezebel’s. We read about Moses, following God’s guidance and Jezebel, under the demonic influence of Satan, the enemy of humankind.
God does not force us to follow and obey him. We always have the choice. God puts before us life or death, blessing or disfavour, good or bad, love for him or hate, faith in him or unbelief, heaven or hell, etc…
It is for us now to make the right choices. Not to act like Hiel who sacrificed two of his sons, because he did not believe the word of God pronounced by Joshua, over 650 years before his time (Joshua 6:26).
It is clear that the Lord considers that the choices which lead to eternity are of the greatest importance. This is why he sent his Son to save us. We always need his help to make the right choices.
Everlasting Father, thank you for putting before us the way to the eternal blessing, which is salvation in Christ Jesus. Help us to make the right choice, that we might be blessed with you forever. Amen.