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When God Says, "That's Enough"
04/20/2008
Scripture: Proverbs 29:1; Proverbs 6:12-15; Acts 12...
Track 8 of 10 in the Elijah: The Humble Hero series
Running time: 56 minutes, 08 seconds.


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


God is good! To me, I am awestruck on how full of compassion He is. He is infinite In His capacity to love. He abounds with mercy, grace and patience. All of these traits about God are immeasurable – they go beyond our comprehension. I don’t know about you but I find great comfort in those facts.

There is another trait about God that many people overlook. They have a hard time reconciling the fact that he is a loving God, a merciful God, a patient God with His trait of also being a just God. In Scriptures we see that his justice and righteousness are intertwined. Many times in the Scriptures justice and righteousness are often translated the same. We love the fact that God is good and compassionate but it is hard to deal with at times when He is equally just. His Justice is a dimension of His character that we should never overlook.

Here is something I want you to think about a minute. Is goodness without justice really goodness at all? Can God be good if He were not just?

We spend so much time in Church and in class talking about and studying about the love of God. But there is another side of His character that we can not deny or ignore, that side is His wrath. He is patient, merciful, compassionate and longsuffering, but his compassion has limits and that limit is not insignificant. God can come to the end of his patience, and when he does, look out.

Proverbs 29:1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

If we look closely at this verse you will see there is a warning and a promise. God reveals a truth about himself. If a man (any person) who hears but refuses to respond, a man who is deafened by his own stubborn will, God says that person will after much reproof, suddenly be broken beyond remedy. Pause a minute and think about the phrase, “beyond remedy”. How severe is that and in reality, what could that mean?

You will see that in Scripture, these types of statements are rare. Often God then follows with an offer of grace and mercy. He knows who we are and how weak we can be at times. But in this statement, there is none of that. There is a point with God where there is no return, no remedy. It is terminal; the end. God says, “That is enough”. Another example is found in Proverbs 6:12-15

Proverbs 6:12-15 A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up dissension. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

In spite of all the beautiful character traits of God, there are those who are wicked enough who can push the limits on God’s grace and mercy. When that happens, the calamity comes sudden and with no healing. There are a number of examples in scripture when God declared, “That’s enough, no more playing games”.

First example: Sodom and Gomorrah

God gave those cities ample time to repent. He even allowed a righteous man to enter and live there, Lot. But they refused to bend their ear to God and change their ways. They even corrupted Lot and his family over time. There was no healing; God annihilated the area and everyone who lived there except for Lot and his 2 daughters.

Second example: Herod Agrippa I

Acts 12:21-23 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

It is interesting how Josephus describes this event. As Herod stood there wearing his silver lined garments, the sun made him sparkle and everyone called him a god. Immediately he bent over with tremendous pain in his abdomen. He was rushed off to his bed and for 5 days he was literally eaten alive from within by worms. God had enough of Herod and there was no healing.

Third example: God loses patience with an entire nation

Over 300 years the kings of Judah refused to lead the people to repentance and quit worshipping false gods. Under Zedekiah’s reign, God said enough and allowed Nebuchadnezzar to carry away Judah into captivity. There was no remedy anymore. God had enough of those wicked people.

God comes to the end of his patience. He can do it with a city, He can do it with an individual, He can also do it with a nation. What makes you think he can’t do it to you or someone else? What makes you think he can’t do it to America? Where is God’s limit when he deals with our sins over and over again after we received the grace and mercy found at the Cross? How seriously do you consider the consequences of the sins you repeat over and over again? When will it be enough?

In Elijah’s life, God can also do it with a couple: a husband and wife who are partners in sin. Ahab and Jezebel was a couple who Elijah had to deal with since the very first moments of his ministry. For many years they listened to and heard the message of Elijah and for years God waited patiently for them to repent, but they never did. Even after the powerful showdown on Mt. Carmel, they became more hardened against God. They refused to repent. They killed the prophets of God and continued bowed down to Baal. But the next event we will study today in scripture will show us just how evil this couple really was.

1 Kings 21:1-2 Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”

Naboth is really a nobody. He owns a small piece of property that happens to be in the shadow of King Ahab’s palace. The land was an inheritance from his father so it had sentimental value. According to Jewish law, it was forbidden to sell land that was part of an inheritance and Naboth reminded Ahab of that fact.

1 Kings 21:3: But Naboth replied, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”

Have any of your kids ever come to you and asked you for something and you refused to give it to them? What are some of the reactions you might expect from a young child at your refusal? What message are they sending you? Why do they act like that at times? What happens when grown adults react to refusals the same way children do? Why do they act that way?

1 Kings 21:4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.

Remind me again here, who is Ahab? What does verse 4 tell us about him as an adult?

1 Kings 21:5-7 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?” He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

Jezebel asks a very important question, one she already knew the answer to, ““Is this how you act as king over Israel?”. The real answer is Jezebel is really the king over Israel. She is the one pulling the strings of the king and she dictates what happens in the kingdom. It isn’t necessarily that she is that powerful; it is because Ahab is that weak. So Jezebel, the person who is really in power decides to take things into her own hands.

What Jezebel does is typical of an evil, foolish person. She takes over and acts in the flesh. She doesn’t step back from the emotion of the moment and evaluate the situation wisely. Because she is evil and a Godless person, instead of asking God for Him to change her husbands heart, she reacts based on her own self-satisfying desires.

How far will evil people go to get what they want?

Kings 21:8-10 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. 9In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

Describe for me the plot Jezebel put together? What does she do that is evil and what does she do that looks as though she is following the law? What is wrong?

Proverbs 19:28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.

1 Kings 21:11-13 So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death.

I do think it is important to note that not only were the two witnesses worthless, but the elders and nobles also went along with the scheme. The whole system was corrupt. They gave the appearance as though they were concerned about what was right, but in reality; they were a pack of liars and murderers.

How are these religious leaders different from those who tried and condemned Jesus? How are they the same and how are they different?

Kings 21:14-16 Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.

What concerns me is not the actions of Jezebel or Ahab or the elders in the town that stoned Naboth, where are the citizens who weren’t evil who probably knew what had happened and looked the other way? How can people who consider themselves to be decent people not stand up against the evil of others? Unfortunately, the world has a history of the well intentioned doing nothing while the persecuted are destroyed right under their noses.

Elijah up to this point has been out of the picture. So far, Elijah hasn’t been involved, until now. God was not happy and comes to the point of saying, “That’s enough.” The last time Elijah came to Ahab promises were involved, opportunities for repentance was offered and God exercised His patience. Not this time, it is now time for justice and judgment.

1 Kings 21:17-19 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’”

When we see pictures of Jesus and when he is portrayed on TV and when we read his words in Scripture, seldom do we see him the way we see him in 1 Kings 21. When God pronounces judgment on someone, it is not a pretty picture nor does it sound nice. The truth is spoken and it can’t be refuted. It doesn’t sound compassionate, nor should it. Please look this over carefully on your own. These are words you seldom see in scripture but they do happen. God is a patient God and a compassionate God but He does have limits and Ahab just crossed it.

1 Kings 21:21-24 I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.’ “And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.”

Can you imagine what went through Ahab’s mind? Obviously he was a weak man who leaned heavily on his wife and her evil ways. But can you imagine how he melted in front of Elijah to hear those words. Do you think Ahab believed Elijah? Why?

There are two very important points we must remember from this lesson:

1) There is an end to God’s patience. No one knows it. God is gracious with mankind to offer salvation and He waits for us to accept Him. He waits for us in mercy. But there is a time when grace ends and man has to face the righteous judgment alone and on his own merits.

How often are people fooled by delayed punishment? Just because you don’t receive punishment right away for something wrong doesn’t mean it isn’t coming sometime.

2) God keeps his word. No one stops it. Never forget what we studied in this chapter. God pronounced the judgment. He keeps his word and as we will see in future lessons, he did keep his word exactly as he said it.

You and I are children of God and He will not cast us out of his family. But if we continue to stubbornly refuse to obey him, he will bring severe discipline upon us because he loves us too much to allow us to go on sinning. Don’t play games with God. Don’t walk away from him with a stubborn will. God always wins and when he says, “That’s enough”, it’s too late.