1 Kings 16.30-33
“Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”
Of the many kings of Israel, Ahab was the most evil. Ahab rejected God and His law, and he embraced the worship of false gods, going so far as to marry Jezebel, the Sidonian princess.
Jezebel brought 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashtoreth from Sidon, and housed them in Ahab’s palace in Samaria. Their mission was to promote the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth throughout the land of Israel.
Not satisfied simply to establish her religion in Israel, Jezebel sought to stamp out every remnant of the worship of God and to kill every true prophet of God.
When God’s judgment came to Israel in the form of the drought, Ahab did not repent of his idolatry. He did not call the people of Israel to repent. He remained stubborn and hard-hearted in his wickedness.
This should be a warning to the political rulers of America, and it should be a warning to the citizens of our nation. The book of Proverbs gives a timeless truth about political leadership: “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29.2)
When you have wise leadership, good things happen. But when you have unwise leadership, bad things happen. This is true in every organization and institution, and it is magnified in government.
Governments throughout history have struggled mightily in the face of this reality, usually without much success. Corrupt people are attracted to the power, privilege, and money that inevitably come along with positions in government. And it seems that the level of corruption scales with the size and power of the government.
The Founding Fathers clearly understood the danger, warned about it constantly, and wrote into the U.S. Constitution a system of checks and balances that were intended to protect against the selfish and manipulative grifters who would inevitably find their way into government either through elected office, political appointment, or social influence.
It is very disheartening to see the extent to which America has deviated from the core principles of the Constitution and allowed government to grow into a massive, out-of-control bureaucracy that is dominated by personal agendas, toxic partisanship, deep corruption, and unimaginable fiscal irresponsibility.
We need to return to the timeless principles of the founders. We need a government with …
- The smallest possible size and the least possible power.
- The lowest possible taxes and the fewest possible regulations.
- The greatest possible freedom and opportunity for the greatest number of people.
This was the original vision for how government should work in our nation, and it has been the most successful political and social structure in the history of the world.
That is not to say that America has been perfect. The treatment of native Americans and the practice of slavery were glaring, horrid inconsistencies in the early history of our nation. However, America has recognized the error of those injustices, and has gone to great lengths to correct them, even to the point of fighting a bloody and expensive civil war to emancipate black slaves.
God desires and blesses wise political leaders, and he denounces and opposes corrupt political leaders. As citizens in a constitutional republic, we have the responsibility to vote wisely and elect leaders who will serve in government with character and competence.
National culture is affected by the character of its leaders and its citizens. When a nation has a critical mass of wise and responsible people, it is a blessing and the nation prospers. But when there is a preponderance of people who speak and act foolishly, a nation will suffer.
“When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.” (Proverbs 11.10-11)
“A city is what it is because its citizens are who they are.” (Plato)
Beware … there are Ahabs and Jezebels in our midst. Be an Elijah.