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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We decide to receive.

Yesterday we were reminded that God wants to provide victory for us.  King Ahab received victory from the LORD even when he was not walking together with God.  All he needed to do was receive that victory.

After their defeat, Ben-hadad's officers said to him, "The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains. Only this time replace the kings with field commanders! Recruit another army like the one you lost. Give us the same number of horses, chariots, and men, and we will fight against them on the plains. There's no doubt that we will beat them." So King Ben-hadad did as they suggested. (1 Kings 20:23-25 NLT)

At first glance, it looks like Ahab did receive that victory.  The Israelites (north) beat back their attackers.  Ben-hadad was clearly defeated.  The Israelites would live to fight another day.

Then the man of God went to the king of Israel and said, "This is what the LORD says: The Arameans have said, 'The LORD is a god of the hills and not of the plains.' So I will defeat this vast army for you. Then you will know that I am the LORD." (1 Kings 20:28 NLT)

On further investigation, however, we can see that Ahab didn’t receive the victory from the LORD.  Part of that victory included instructions from God to kill Ben-hadad.  Otherwise, he would regroup, raise up an army again, and attack Israel once again.  Ahab was given a gift by God but he did not receive the gift, which came with instructions.  Ahab did not start listening to God.  Ahab did not repent.

The prophet said to him, "This is what the LORD says: Because you have spared the man I said must be destroyed, now you must die in his place, and your people will die instead of his people." So the king of Israel went home to Samaria angry and sullen. (1 Kings 20:42-43 NLT)

We are offered many gifts from God throughout our lifetime.  Often times we don’t receive those gifts because we don’t like the instructions that come along with the offer.  We aren’t being told to fight and kill the leader of an opposing army.  We are told, though, to fight off our spiritual enemies and to stop listening to them.  We are told to start listening to God.  We are told to repent.  When we listen to God, we receive the benefits and blessings that go along with that obedience (love, joy, peace, etc.).  When we don’t…we don’t receive.

How about you?  Do you see the benefits and blessings that God wants to provide you?  Do you know what the LORD is calling you to do?  Do you have a place where you need to turn around (repent)?  Are you willing to do it?  Will you decide to receive?