There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife.
1 Kings 21:25 (NIV)
Wendy and I purchased a digital photo frame for my mother as a Christmas gift. It allows my dad, my siblings, and our children the ability to upload photos right to the frame from anywhere. My mother, who is now entering the more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, moved into Memory Care just before Thanksgiving.
So, I and my loved ones have been sending photos to mom’s frame. When my folks moved into a retirement community several years ago, I ended up with the giant tub of old family photos which I’ve been slowly scanning and archiving. I’ve been going through old photos of mom and loading those into her frame hoping they might spark her waning synapses of memory and give her even a fleeting moment of joy.
The other day I visited mom in her room. She was sitting on her sofa, the room was dark with the lights out and the shades drawn. I sat down next to her and together we watched the photos in the frame. There were photos of her childhood, her years as a mother, family vacations and gatherings, and photos of her great-grandchildren. She said very little. We just sat silently holding hands. She began stroking my hand softly as we watched her life scroll by.
Many people who have had near-death experiences (NDEs) speak of being taken through a review of their life on earth like a slideshow. The specific details vary, but the “life review” is a common element of most NDEs. I thought about that, and about my mother’s life, as we watched it pass before our eyes there on the digital frame.
In today’s chapter, King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, conspire to steal a vineyard of a man named Naboth. Ahab simply wanted it because it was conveniently located near his palace. Naboth explained that it was his family’s land, allotted to them since the division of the land under Joshua, and they would never sell it. Jezebel uses her worldly power as Queen to create a scheme to have Naboth brought up on trumped-up charges and stoned to death along with his male heirs by her political cronies. I couldn’t help but think that Jezebel and Ahab’s actions are not unlike King David using his power to have Uriah the Hittite killed in order to marry Bathsheba.
Not unlike God sending the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin, God sends Elijah to confront Ahab about his sin. Elijah states, and the author of Kings repeats that Ahab had “sold himself” to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. That was the summary statement of Ahab’s earthly life. The slideshow of Ahab’s life would show over and over again that he surrendered himself to whatever would make him rich and powerful, even if that meant surrendering himself to pagan gods and practices. The framing and killing of Naboth and his sons merely because Ahab coveted his garden perfectly encapsulated Ahab’s life.
In the quiet this morning, I found myself thinking about my mother’s digital life review that we watched the other day. The photographic evidence revealed a woman is loved and beloved by her husband, her children, and her family. It revealed a woman who worked hard, along with her husband, to create a life that was lovingly centered around faith and family, joy and laughter.
What a contrast to what the slideshow of Ahab’s life review must have looked like according to Elijah’s description.
And, that begs the question. What about the slideshow of my life review? What will it reveal? To what have I “sold myself” and surrendered on my life journey?
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.