1 Kings 20:1-21
And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots…
I. AHAB'S EXTREMITY (vers. 1-11). God's goodness to the froward is shown by His bringing them into circumstances where they may prove and know Him. The clouds they "so much dread are big with mercy."
1. The land is overrun and the capital besieged. The fruit of sin is difficulty and disaster. The land and the life which will not acknowledge God will know at last what it is to be bereft of His protecting care and the ministrations of His goodness. These are the eternal portion only of those whom they raise and bless.
2. His degradation (vers. 2-4). In his own city he has to listen and assent to the terms that rob him at one stroke of all that is dearest and best. The foe has no mercy, and Ahab neither strength nor dignity. Those who forsake God, and shut themselves out from the experience of His truth and mercy, will prove the vanity of every other trust.
3. His helplessness (vers. 5-11).
(1) Compliance with Ben-hadad's first demands does not save him from further degradation. Those who rely only on the world's compassion lean on a reed which will break and pierce them.
(2) Ahab's defiance (ver. 11) was an appeal to chance. He had no clear confidence that Ben-hadad's threatenings would come to nothing. Forgetfulness of God is weakness for the battle of life, and darkness amid its dangers. Are we remembering Him? Are we stirring ourselves up to lay hold on God?
II. GOD'S HELP (vers. 12-21).
1. Its compassionateness. The help came unsought, and when, indeed, there was no thought of seeking it. How often has He thus prevented us with the blessings of His goodness!
2. Its timeliness. The final attack was about to be made (ver. 12). The progress of the siege had no doubt alarmed Ahab, and led to negotiation. Now it needed but one more effort and the Syrian hosts would be surging through the streets of Samaria. Within the city there was only a terrible fear, or dull, defiant despair. But now, as the blow is about to fail, the shield of God sweeps in between. The Lord knows]:[is time to help, and, by helping, to reveal Himself and bind us to Him.
3. Its fulness.
(1) Israel is glorified. The weakest part of the army achieves the victory.
(2) Ahab is honoured (ver 14). The victory is gained under the leadership of the man whom God might have righteously destroyed.
(3) The triumph is complete (vers. 20, 21), Ben-hadad a fugitive, and his army a prey. The glory of God is manifested most of all in His mercy. We cannot contemplate our deliverance from danger and the fulness of our triumph in Christ without feeling upon our soul the recreative touch of the hand of God. - J.U.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.