Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. 1 Kings xxi, 29.
Have you ever been tormented by the fear that God will never forgive your grievous sins? There are people who think that they are beyond redemption and that God will never be able to forgive or forget their heinous misdeeds. As a result, they toil under guilt.
You might recall that King Ahab and his wife Jezebel were two of the most wicked people who lived in ancient Israel. Their misdeeds shook heaven and earth. God was quick to take cognizance of their murderous oppression. Hours after the slaughter of righteous Naboth, God sent prophet Elijah to Ahab to indict, convict and sentence Ahab and his wife. The message conveyed to Ahab stands out as one of the most horrendous punishments uttered by God: “… dogs shall lick your blood. … The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel” (v. 19b, 23). This sentence would extend to “whoever belonged to Ahab.”
Ahab could have defied God and His prophet. Or, Ahab could have resigned to his fate and said, “It is after all God’s judgment. Who can change His will?” But the wicked king appeared to have surprised everyone by seeking God’s mercy. After Elijah had left him, King Ahab tore his clothes in grief and put on sackcloth as a symbol of self-abasement. He fasted and went about mourning! (Not many Christians today find it easy to fast, let alone wear sackcloth!)
When God saw these expressions of humility, repentance and remorse, He alerted Elijah: “See how Ahab has humbled before Me?” Contrary to what most people imagine about God, He is not a distant God who stays remote and uninterested in the affairs of people. He watches over each and every detail of our life. How careful must we live under His watchful eyes! Beyond this, the fact that comforts us is God’s instant response to Ahab’s repentance. God relented and deferred the expression of his wrath. Elijah was sent once again to Ahab to convey God’s reprieve. Ahab would not have to see the calamity that would overtake his country during his lifetime.
If God took notice of the positive response of a wicked king and issued due concessions in His judgment, will He not take notice of your repentance and tears? You are certainly not worse that Ahab! When you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and his atoning work on the cross of Calvary, won’t God cleanse you from every sin? He surely will relent and forgive you. If God had decided to bring calamity on you, He will change His ruling in your favor. You are not beyond the reach of His loving kindness and mercies.