Reading Note – 1 Kings 20 (The battles against Syria)

* God had no love for Ahab, but he helped him defeat the King of Syria – twice. This seems to be more out of hatred for Syria than love for Ahab.

* After their first defeat, the Syrians rationalized that they were defeated because Israel’s God was a god of the hills. They resolved to fight in the plains next time.

* God wasn’t pleased with that explanation. He resolved to give the Israelites victory a second time to show that he was God of the plains too.

* This is one of those situations that stir the charge of hubris against God. Why, we wonder, does he have to prove the Syrians wrong? We understand that he has a lot to be proud of, but we don’t he should be going around boasting of his power to everyone who can see.

* That objection requires that God have no other reason for his actions, but he very well could. It does a lot to show us rebellious mortals that we can’t escape God’s justice by changing locations. The truth is that he is God. The sooner you understand that and make his rules your priority, the better off you’ll be.

* The objection also needs one more thing to be successful. It needs to provide a reason why, if God’s response was only a gratuitous display of power, it would be wrong  I suspect that pride is wrong for humans because we are not as great as we like to think. No on ever got rightly criticized for stating and promoting a true fact. It is only just that great people be recognized as great by those around them – and God values justice, after all. If they start recognizing themselves, they run the risk of blowing their characteristics out of proportion, but God can’t make such a mistake.

* The King of Syria surrendered after his second defeat, but Ahab did not kill him. For that, God told Ahab that he would take his life in place of the king’s and his people in place of the Syrians. That was, after all, a fitting punishment for someone who let your prisoner escape. Symmetric, perhaps, but we might want to discuss its justice.

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Tracy

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