Friday, August 6, 2010


By Odon Bulamba (30 May 2003)

In the Bible there is a man named Ahab, he had a wife who was very famous, her name was Jezebel. Ahab was a man of God; God gave him a nation to lead. Ahab was a King who led the people of Israel. He also led the people of Samaria. But with the human love he had, he fell in love with Jezebel who was not an Israelite. At the beginning it was fine, God understood, but later Jezebel started leading the country instead of Ahab, and everybody knew this. God sent many people to see the King but he didn’t want to listen; and finally God punished him.

At the same time there was another man named Naboth; this story is found in 1 Kings 21. Naboth means “the fruit”, and Ahab means “the father of the brother” and Jezebel means “chaste”. Ahab decided to live together with Jezebel, and Naboth decided to live his life with his family.

Later on Ahab bought a palace somewhere, and beside it there was a vineyard, which belonged to Naboth. Ahab said to Naboth “I would like to have this vineyard so that I can look after it and plant my vegies there. If you don’t want to give it to me I can buy it and if you don’t want the money I can give you a better vineyard somewhere else”. Naboth said “no, it’s not possible for me, God doesn’t allow me to do that because it’s an inheritance I got from my ancestors, so I can’t give it to you, whatever you want to give me in exchange I can not accept”.

So Ahab went back home and the Bible says he was very sad, he was also quite angry. When he was at home he even refused to eat, he went to bed and fell asleep. His wife came and said “what’s wrong my husband, wake up, you need to eat so you’ll be strong”, so Ahab explained the situation to Jezebel. Jezebel said to Ahab, “who do you think you are, do you think you’re the King of Israel, I don’t think so. But I will find a solution for this vineyard because you want to turn it into a veggie garden I will find a solution for you”.

So Jezebel took the Kings seals and wrote a letter to the governor of the place where Naboth lived. In her letter she said; put Naboth in the front line and choose two nasty men who will do evil toward Naboth as he didn’t respect God or the King, and he shall be condemned, stoned and die. When the governor got the letter he did what the King asked because the seal of the King was on it. He put two men in front of Naboth, they threatened him and gave false testimonies, Naboth was stoned and he lost his life. They wrote a letter and gave it to Jezebel confirming that Naboth was killed. Jezebel was happy, she went to see her husband and said, now you can have the vineyard, you can keep your money.

As stupid as Ahab was, he went to Naboth’s vineyard. The Lord touched Eli and said to Eli, go and see this King, tell him I sent you, he is a thief and a murderer; so Eli went. When Eli said to Ahab aren’t you a thief and a murderer; Ahab replied with courage and said why, do you have something against me! Eli said yes I have something against you, because you sold yourself to do something wrong in God’s eyes and because of that at the same place where Naboth was killed is the same place where the dog’s will lick your blood, and your wife will also be punished, the dogs will eat your wife’s body, and all your descendants will be cursed. Eli added a few more things and Ahab found it very difficult, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth, he slept like that and God saw it. God said to Eli, do you see what’s happening with Ahab now; he has humiliated himself, and because he humiliated himself before me I will forgive him, and I will punish the following generation.

Why am I talking about that? Tonight I was wondering what we were going to talk about. God wanted us to share about this text. This man, Naboth, knew the value of the vineyard; he wanted to be faithful at all costs to what his parents had given him. And as you know, if you are faithful in the small things it’s very easy to be faithful in big things. The Bible says you have to keep what you have so that it won’t be stolen from you. Naboth was really conscious of this, he said “I don’t have any inheritance; I don’t have anything else to show people what my father gave me. Although it’s only a 300 metre square vineyard I will keep it and look after it”.

As you know a vineyard gives grapes, and it takes time for the grapes to be ripe. But for veggies it only takes two weeks. King Ahab wanted to destroy the whole vineyard so that he could plant his veggies. Veggies are cheaper than grapes, but Ahab didn’t care, he wanted his will to be done and not God’s. So how many times do we keep what God gave us, what value do we give to what God gave us?

We are heirs, what is our inheritance as a Christian? We’re going to inherit eternal life, our God is the King and He’s got a kingdom and we are his princes and princesses, we will inherit this kingdom, this kingdom is there for us. Each one has his share in this kingdom, although it’s not a kingdom that can be seen in man’s eyes, but as for us Christians it is by faith that we can see this kingdom.

God keeps giving us the Word every time, but I don’t know in which bank we keep this Word. How many times do you get the Word of God, and how many times do you keep this Word in a safe place in your heart? Here on earth, when people have jewellery they will easily have insurance for it, to mean that if something happens to my jewellery at home, I will be paid for it. And others say I won’t keep it at home, I will put it in a bank so that nothing will be lost, because if a thief comes it won’t worry me, it will be at the bank’s expense. This is very common in man’s eyes. But the Word of God that we have is more valuable than the jewellery we have, it’s more valuable than material things that we can see. If we insure what we have, why don’t we insure the Word of God, what is the insurance company you have for the Word of God.

I had a sister whose insurance company for the Word of God was her shelf, after she took her notes she would put them on the shelf. One day in her house there were rats that came and destroyed everything, she woke up in the morning and rebuked the rats in Jesus name. Was she entitled to curse these rats? Unfortunately she lost everything, she thought the shelf was a good place to put the Word of God, but it was a very bad place that was not safe. Satan represents the rats. When you don’t realise the value of the Word of God that is in your heart and you expose it, the devil will come and eat everything, and destroy it.

When we live life normally, it is very difficult to put together the Word of God with everyday life. For example, if you want to buy something, do you think about whether it’s for God’s glory or not? When you wear your shirt, do you know if it pleases God or not? Do you think about God’s presence where you are, when you have a shower do you acknowledge that God is there? Most of the time, we forget and only remember God’s presence when we meet together like this. When we meet together that’s the time we think about God. Why don’t we adapt the verses from the Bible that we know to our everyday life? If we don’t put it into practice it means we don’t acknowledge the value of these verses, and when we don’t acknowledge them it’s enough for someone like Ahab to come and say he will offer something else in exchange for these verses.

One day my mother prayed with a friend, when they were praying God said ok I give you a message and the message was, “blessed are those who turn their eyes towards me because I’m going to help, as I promised David I ask you also to turn your eyes towards me and you will receive help from me”. The verse was given, she looked for a pen but there was nothing, her friend said don’t worry I know this verse by heart.

After seven days there was someone who was sick, she went to her prayer group and said she needed prayer. The leader was led to say that Roda (my mother) will pray for the sick person. Courageously she stood up, God said to her before you pray give me the Bible verse I gave to you seven days ago, everybody was waiting, she looked around and started scratching her head, there was no answer, the devil had taken everything. God made her understand that she hadn’t kept what she was given, it was a failure, it was a shame, she couldn’t pray, she was not ready. The sick person who was waiting was very disappointed. The leader thought, what would people think, if I tell them that God asked me to tell you to pray, will they accept and believe me. It was something very shameful.

God said, “you didn’t take properly what I gave you”. How many times do we take seriously what God gives us? When Ahab comes he’ll say, come Michael let’s go. It’s very easy to replace the time we have with God for other things that are merely distractions. We find sometimes that what the world offers us is better than the vineyard that we have. Do you want to pray now? No let’s go and get the money somewhere, I’ve got an appointment. Yes, the money is more important than the prayer of five minutes, so you go. You want to do something for God’s glory now but someone will say to you let’s talk together on the phone, you talk for 2 hours, you look at your watch, the time is over, no more time to read the Word of God.

Ahab continues to work that way, he keeps distracting people. And when Ahab finds someone like you and me who know how to keep what God gave, he becomes very irritated, sometimes he doesn’t even want to eat. Don’t be surprised in the churches, there are people who live like Ahab, they just want to take the little that others have, they want all the good things to belong to them, if it’s success it’s for them, if it’s glory they want the glory to be for them, if it’s money or whatever, it’s for them only and when they can’t find what they want, they can even fall sick.

One day I preached somewhere and I was talking about how the Word of God is the truth, there was a person in the assembly who was called peacock because he was very high. When people said hello to him they would bow before him and when this man walked, one hand was in his pocket, someone would carry his bag, his head was slightly on the side. He wanted to show everyone he was perfect; but that day God humiliated him. After the message was the prayer time, while praying he fell down, he had evil spirits. A servant of God said, “who will worship these spirits?” He said, “come let’s worship” but everybody said no. He said, “but 3 minutes ago you greeted him, why don’t you do it now?” They said, “no, he’s got impure spirits”. They are afraid of the spirits but they are not afraid of sin, they are afraid of the spirits but they don’t fear God, they forgot all glory belongs to God. Spirits can transform themselves and enter someone. You think you worship a person but you are worshipping the devil without knowing it. Many Christians live like proud people, when they don’t get what they want they can become very irritated.

This man stood up, he wanted what the servants of God had for himself, and he said if I had this power nobody would compete with me. All his questions were about what could I do to be like him? He was also ready to give money for that. As for you, how many times do you want to be loved by man? When you want people to appreciate you, what is your interest in all of this? Do you remember that the glory belongs to God and not to you? For example; if Sylvie has something I don’t have, do I become irritated or not? Do I think that what Sylvie has comes from God or do I want God to give it to me by force?

This was a great mistake in Ahab’s life, he even refused to eat. Like many Christians, when they are disappointed, they don’t even have time to read the Bible. They are against everything that is to do with the Gospel, and sometimes they go to bed to fall asleep; do you think that if you go into your bed you’ll find peace? Do you think that sleeping means sanctification, sleeping can never erase sins; you must know that the life we have doesn’t depend on sleeping. Our comfort is the Holy Spirit and not our beds. Whenever we fall into sin we must confess our sin and repent, we don’t have the right to go and hide in our bedrooms, to start meditating on things that don’t have meaning.

Because Ahab went into his bedroom and refused to eat the devil came, he used Jezebel to lead her husband into a big hole, and when you fall into the hole you can’t get out. He accepted his wife’s advice more than the Word of God. Ahab stood up, he ate which was good, but he gave all his authority to his wife, she took his signature, which was the seal. Ahab was a lazy king because he gave all his power to someone else, he knew very well that Jezebel would worship other gods. The anointment Ahab had was from God but he gave this anointing to his wife, he was left like a statue.

Jezebel condemned this man to death and Ahab did nothing, Naboth was stoned. Those who persecuted Naboth thought it was the king who wrote the letter. As for you brothers and sisters, what is your power, what is the power and the place that God gave you in your life? Did God give Colleen the same as what he gave Keith? Did God give Sylvie what Michael has? I think that God gives everyone as He likes, we don’t have the right to give away what we have been given, if we do, we will be like the lazy king. We have a kingdom that’s waiting for us, we are heirs, but if we are not good managers of this inheritance, our wives, our friends our children will destroy it.

So Jezebel put her husband on trial, he didn’t say anything, he kept quiet. As for us men, we have to know our responsibilities. Our responsibilities are in the Bible, and the women, know also your responsibilities. This must work together with the Word of God. We cannot say I’m going to do that when God doesn’t want us to do that. We cannot be like Jezebel and say what she said to her husband; “you are not the king, it’s up to me to decide and I will give you want you need”. No, Jesus says no! What God gave Michael belongs to Michael, what God gave Sylvie belongs to Sylvie, what God gave Michelle belongs to Michelle. Because of disobedience Jezebel went out of God’s will. She knew the Word, because I know that her husband talked to her about it, but she wanted to prove to her husband that she had more power than him. How many times do we want to prove to others that we are the best? How many times do we want to show the world that without us nothing will work?

Once there was a man who finished his studies with a distinction, it was the first time in that university that someone had ever got a 96% pass mark. The authorities came to honour this man, he was very proud, different companies approached this man and said, “you’re going to work with us, and we know that you’re going to do something good”. After 48 hours God asked this man, what treasure do you have, because I see that your trust is in your studies? Rip up your diploma and throw it in the fireplace. This man said what! 96% for the doctorate, if it was a Bachelor I could accept, if it was something else I could do it. But with that he said, “God understand, you are also a man” and God said, “I’m not a man, you reached the point that you confused me with man, I’m not a man so destroy that diploma”.

When people graduate they wear special clothes, this man went up to receive his diploma and put it in the fire, he took a pair of scissors and destroyed all his clothes. God said, you won’t work, don’t accept the offer you’ll be given to work. The man said, my God how can I survive and live? God said I’m the one who gives life, you will survive. Why did God do that? God wanted to teach the world something, he wanted this man to be flat, because there might have been mountains in his heart, these mountains of pride had to be removed, he lost everything, but he won what was important, it was Jesus Christ in his life.

A lot of people today don’t want to keep what is important in their lives; they just want to keep the money and treasures. With money you can buy a nice bed, but you will never be able to buy sleep. With money you can buy clothes, but you will never buy the body that these clothes wear. With money you can buy everything except what is essential. You can buy everything except the most important thing. If you go in depth and consider what money is, you’ll find that money is useless.

For example, the president Sadam Hussein wanted to humiliate the USA, he used the US bank note for toilet paper, for him it was nothing, it was just paper. There are those who throw away coins without even thinking about it, and there are those who look for them and gather them up. You cannot find 20cents and not take it, it’s not easy to leave, some people do but it’s not easy, although you can’t buy anything with 20cents we know that 20cents is 20 cents, although we don’t need to buy anything with it, we will still take it. But if you find the Bible open in front of you, will you read it? Or will you go away?

So this man Ahab gave all his power to his wife and this led them to condemnation. You and me from time to time we kill many people, we stone many Christians and friends because we’ve already given Jezebel what belonged to us as a decision. The Bible says whoever hates is a murderer, how many times do we hate people? If you have already hated 50 people you must realise you’ve killed those 50 people. If God says to you that you are a murderer will you accept it? I think you’ll say no. Like Ahab, he was told he was a thief and a murderer, he didn’t accept it. So we must be careful in our way of living, not to be a stumbling block in other people’s lives because these people might lose their lives because of us.

The servants of God continue to speak today, but we think it’s not for us. We are called to be like Ahab, to listen to the message and understand that the message is about us. Although Ahab had other people by him, he looked at himself and he said that’s me, I don’t want to complain, I don’t want to justify myself, I don’t want to say anything, I have to humiliate myself and because of that I realise I don’t have the right to wear the clothes I have on, I prefer to wear a sack.

How many times do we justify ourselves? When you tell Odon he’s done something he will justify himself and say it was because of Colleen. If you say something bad about Lebon, I will protect him and start giving reasons that are wrong, sometimes even lies. Sometimes when you talk about my work, I will start justifying myself and put the blame on other people. When you talk to your husband or your husband talks to you, don’t try to justify yourself because justification means you are luke-warm, and the one who is in the Lord must be either hot or cold. When you justify yourself you give birth to an argument or a discussion, the Bible says we must avoid this.

In my country the president Mubotu liked to show everyone that his wife was the best. For example; when he visited other countries he would say to the president come and say hello to my wife. Instead of calling her his wife, he would say come and say hello to your mum. One day he said this to the French president who was really proud; he said she’s not my mother, I am French and she’s Congolese, she’s black and I’m white. It was a shame and Mubotu was humiliated that day. So if we keep trying to show others that we are the best, we’ll reach the point where someone will humiliate us.

I have a friend who lives in the Philippines. One day this friend made a mistake, she met another man outside whom she had an affair with, it was very difficult for this woman, and she didn’t know what to do or say. She said, I’m in a difficult situation, I’m pregnant and when I’ll give birth people will know that I’m pregnant and my husband will never accept this pregnancy, how can I go to my husband and tell him, if I tell him what I’ve done he will take a sword and cut my head off. Was what this woman did more important than her soul? If her husband could kill his wife because of what she’s done, could this man forget this woman’s value and the positive things she’s done in her life?

This woman shook with fear, she said help me, what can I do? We said there’s nothing to do, there’s only one solution and that’s God, because He is in control of your life and he’s also in control of your husband’s life. You acknowledged that you made a mistake; you are entitled to forgiveness because grace is there. If you are afraid that talking to your husband will destroy everything then pray to God and ask Him. So we prayed, God said yes, if she tells that to her husband it will be an impossible situation to solve, because of that I forgive her; and then the pregnancy disappeared. Is that true, with what I’ve done can I be forgiven; yes God is a God of mercy; believe and that’s it. Her family continued to live with peace, God gave her a grace, He said to her, your sins are forgiven but don’t do it again, avoid sin, what you’ve done is over, it’s covered, you are free but don’t do it again, it was joyful.

How many times for us human beings we tremble and try to find a solution with people, do we remember God? Like Ahab, he remembered God’s presence and tore His clothes. We have to humiliate ourselves before God in every circumstance, God is the solution. Don’t rush to make a decision, focus and ask God what you have to do and God will open the door.

Eventually Eli said to Ahab I have to go, the message is gone; Ahab thought I will never be punished by God because He forgave me, He forgave my sin, my sin that was so big, my sin that made everybody shake, my sin that made tears and blood flow, my God has forgiven me, without going through anyone else God forgave me. For Ahab this was a joy, he lived the rest of his life peacefully. But Jezebel who didn’t listen to Eli’s message didn’t finish her life in a good way.

As for us Christians we must be careful, we must keep whatever we have. Even if death comes it will never separate us from the love of God, the world can stone us, people can kill us but nothing will separate us from God’s love, so consider what you have as Naboth did, consider the value of the inheritance you have, this will lead you very far in your life. The one who rushed to find the vineyard found that it didn’t belong to him at all, God sent Eli and stopped him. Naboth’s children continued to look after this vineyard. Will the inheritance you have go to your children? Even if you are threatened by the world will your children inherit what you have?

All what I’ve said is for a reason; we all have to understand what God wants to say, through us or people around us. This year has been said to be a year of joy, a year where our tears will be wiped. But so far I haven’t seen anyone take his handkerchief to clean his eyes, I’ve never seen someone show the joy of the Lord this year. So let’s think and meditate upon the Lord’s joy and also on tears. Tears always flow in two circumstances; either when we have joy or distress. If you are happy you can have tears easily or if you are in distress you can have tears easily too. But before these tears come you must feel something in the depth of your heart, if you don’t feel anything in the depth of your heart and tears come it means that your eyes are sick. So let’s find the joy in the Lord so the tears will flow and that God might wipe them.

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