Front Porches and Bible Study

Yesterday I decided to do my praying on my front porch in the sun. I had just returned home from the Tuesday morning ladies Bible study. Currently, we are going through 1st Kings. As I was praying, I was sort of also meditating on the lesson, thanking God for the older ladies in there who are so welcoming to me, and particularly thanking him for the teacher and the lesson she had prepared. She covered chapter 20, 21, and part of 22 (an accomplishment I could never do in one lesson!). Do you ever wonder why some of these stories in history are the ones that made the cut into God’s holy word? Well, I do. I was kind of doing that as I prayed. As we read about Ahab you can’t help but thinking, what an immature jerk! So, there I was, in my prayer, thanking God that we have such a righteous, strong King in Jesus Christ. It was then that I saw part of the significance of a particular Ahab account in chapter 21. Here we learn that Naboth, a Jezreelite, had a vineyard nearby the palace. Ahab gets the big idea that he should have this vineyard and turn it into a vegetable garden. So he approaches Naboth, tells him he wants it, and that he will pay him with an even better vineyard or with its value in money. Naboth refused. The vineyard was an inheritance, from the Lord even, and was to be passed to his descendants. So Ahab goes home and throws himself a pity party. When his wife Jezebel finds out, she is disgusted by Ahab’s weakness as a king. She takes matters into her own hands to set Naboth up to have him and his sons executed. Passive little Ahab must have been fine with his wife doing the dirty work because he happily takes possession of the vineyard. Now I’m all for vegetable gardens, I have one myself. But in my mind, wanting to turn a wonderful vineyard into a vegetable garden is kind of like wanting to turn wine back into water. Yet I don’t know the logistics of the situation. Maybe Ahab had plenty of wine but was having a vitamin K deficiency. Yes, I’m sorry; this is where my mind goes during Bible study sometimes. That’s why it’s good for me to pray afterwards. As I was thanking God for my good King, I saw the further ways in which this passage pointed to Christ. Here we have a bad king who takes inherited vineyards away from people. But he’s too weak to even be properly evil, so he lets his more experienced wife put her miry hands into the matter. With a little manipulation and false witnessing, the helpless Naboth was stoned. On the contrary, our great King gives us an inheritance. While we are the ones who are stuck in the miry pit, he pre-pays our debt with his own righteous life. Jesus gave his own life for us. He then through faith offers himself to us. In our union with Christ, we receive his full inheritance. How amazing is that? As he teaches about our union with him, Christ uses a vineyard to illustrate that he is the true vine and we are the branches. His Father is the vinedresser. He makes us clean by his word, and as we abide in him, he produces much fruit in us. This abiding in the great King will bring us much joy--his joy. Jesus Christ is our true witness before God, interceding for all those who are his own. He reigns his kingdom with grace. So the moral of this post: you can see Christ hidden all over the Old Testament, and praying on front porches is pretty cool.