There is 1 true God. 1 Kings 20
There is One True God
I Kings 20
We live in a world in which some people say "There is no God or gods", others say "There is a God and
his name is Allah-- or in other other ages people have declared a singular god by another name", still
others say "There are many many gods-- just pick one or some and worship them."
Despite the message of the world, the Bible repeatedly declares that there is One True God- The God
of the Bible (See Deut 6:4; I kings 18, Isaiah 45:18, etc). His personal name is YAHWEH (The LORD).
This morning we are going to take a look at 1 Kings 20. In this passage God, on two separate
occasions shows Himself - to a man named Ahab (who just so happened to be the king of the
Northern Kingdom of Israel) to be the ONE TRUE GOD.
Despite what God did, Ahab never turned to the Lord- Just like Jeroboam (to whom God revealed
Himself) he hardened his heart and went all the more against God.
A little background to our text
-The strength, peace, and prosperity of the times of King David and Solomon are a distant memory for
the Jews (for they are divided into two kingdoms and afflicted from all sides)
-Our text features the Northern Kingdom of Israel (where the moral and spiritual climate is worse than
in the Southern Kingdom)
-The king in charge at this moment in time was Ahab- an incredibly wicked king. He reigned for 22
years, considering the sins that Jeroboam committed to be a trivial thing. Jeroboam was the first king
of the Northern Kingdom and in the book of Kings stands as a bar/standard for evil. This contrasts to
David who is constantly used as a comparative standard for righteouesness.
-Over his 22 years Ahab spent most of his time erecting altars to the false god Baal (Lord of the flies)
and the fertility goddess Asherah (egged on by his evil wife- Jezebel). To make things worse, he and
his wife killed off a lot of God's prophets
-In the midst of Ahab and his reign of evil, God raised up Israel's most famous prophet- Elijah. Elijah
was a mighty man of God through whom God performed a number of miracles. The message of Elijah
was clear-- there is One True God, repent of your sins and turn back to God.
-Just prior to the events of 1 Kings 20 Elijah engaged in a showdown with the prophets of Baal and
Asherah- holding a contest as to who was the true God-- The LORD/Yahweh or Baal. This contest was
a public event (I Kings 18) and the result was the declaration of the people that "The LORD, He is
God!" How interesting that this passage is a follow up to this
1. Israel's sin explains her weakened state
Israel was just a shell of her former self. When David numbered the troops of all Israel in 2 Samuel 24
--1.3 million men were counted as being on active duty and ready for battle. Now the army counted
So weak was Ahab and Israel that when Ben Hadad came the first time and demanded he hand over
his gold, silver, wives, children, he did it without hestitation
There is only one thing that explains Israel's hardship, their shrunken size, their weakness, their
pitiful estate: THEIR SIN, their abandonment of God.
Hardship and set backs are part of life, sometimes they come because not because God is upset with
us but because He loves us and is confident that our faith in a difficult time will be a great testimony
for Him. At other times, hardship comes because of our sin. In either case we are to examine
ourselves and always be resolved to follow Him and stick close to Him-- and if we do discover that we
have been sinning against Him, we need to repent that we might be restored and experience His
2. The pride of Ben Hadad was part of his undoing. See v.10-11
So confident in his victory was he that he figured he could get drunk with his fellow kings during the
middle of the day in a time of war.
So confident was he that he told his men to take captive the Israelites who were coming out to him
(whether they came peacefully or itching for a fight-- that's a huge disadvantage to your men to say -
don't kill the other guy even if he's trying to kill you)
So confident was he that his gods would give him the victory over Israel.
It's interesting that even Ahab calls him out for his pride. v.11 is funny word picture lambasting Ben
Hadad for having swagger before he has actually done anything of note.
We need to be on guard against PRIDE-- pride comes before a fall. Proverbs 16:11
The opposite of pride is humility-- this is what we need to be.
3. At the core of I Kings 20 is this: Who is the true God?-- The god of the Arameans, Baal,
Ashtoreth, or the God of Israel- the LORD/Yahweh
Setting up this contest is the boastful claim of Ben Hadad (who is named after the false Aramean god
"Hadad" )in v.10 "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in
Samaria to give each of my men a handful"
Twice in 1 Kings 20 the Arameans come with a massive army (a year apart). In each case God sends a
prophet to Ahab to tell him that God is going to deliver the vast army of Ben Hadad into his hands,
that Ahab may know that the LORD is God. v.13, 29 NOTE THAT THESE ARE THE TWO KEY VERSES OF
Interesting: In regards to round 2, the Arameans figure that they lost to Israel because the god of the
Israelites was a god of mountains and not of plains (showing there erroneous view that they perceived
God to be a regional god)
Twice, against all odds, the Israelites triumphed over the Arameans
-on paper they had no chance 127,000 plus against 7000
-Soldiers with chariots against none
-In both cases the Arameans were slaughtered
THERE IS ONLY ONE EXPLANATION: GOD!
4. The key takeaway of 1 Kings 20 is this THERE IS ONE TRUE GOD- THE LORD, the God of the
1. Serve and worship Him alone!
2. Trust God day to day, month to month, year to year and never let the enemy or circumstance
overwhelm your faith-- for nothing is too hard for God!
A little complexity
There is one God-- He exists as Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Such is a mystery. Such is part of the
transcendence of God. Such is received and rested upon by faith. The Lord our God is one! (Deut. 6:4)
Another point: There is one true God--Don't confuse Him with Allah, Krishna, or any other name. He
has revealed His personal name to us "LORD" Yahweh. He has revealed to us his nature and person
(Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
5. Ahab's response to God twice showing him that He is the ONE TRUE GOD is surprising and not
surprising all at the same time
In the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, framed as "If the Lord is God,
follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." Elijah prays in v.36-37, "Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac
and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done
all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you,
Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."
Note that last part "turning their hearts back again"
Twice God has a prophet say "I'm going to deliver Ben Hadad into your hand that you may know that
the LORD, He is God".
What was the expected response? That Ahab would confess his sin. That Ahab would destroy the idols
of Baal. That Ahab would repent in humility and sorrow before the LORD and lead the nation back to
What did Ahab do with God's incredible mercy and grace, what did he do with the opportunity God
gave him to repent? How did he respond to the saving work of God? He threw it away, he regarded
what God did as nothing. He ignored the call of God- He went his own way. He hardened his heart. He
carried on in idolatry and when confronted about his sin of befriending Ben Hadad, he went away
sullen and angry. v.43.
As for Ahab's refusal to believe, 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that; "The god of this age has blinded the
minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God."
A FEW MYSTERIOUS THINGS
a. The death of the prophet (by the paws of yet another lion) v.35-36
On the surface, his death seems strange, harsh, unfair-- particularly in the light of the length of the
rope granted to Ahab. However his death highlights this: The rightful consequence of sin against God
and how important obedience to God is.
b. Ahab's befriending of Ben Hadad. v.31-34
One of the craziest things about the account of 1 Kings 20 is Ahab's sparing and befriending of Ben
Hadad -the man who took his gold, his silver, his wife, his children and who was about to pillage the
land and the city without mercy.
Instead of ridding the earth of him, Ahab calls him brother (and in some respects they were for they
were brothers in sin and rebellion against God), brings him into his chariot, and makes a treaty with
For this sin, Ahab's end was sealed-- for he did as Saul did long before "He spared the life of one
devoted to destruction" (1 Samuel 15).
Ahab's sin of making an alliance with the enemy is not a danger that is foreign to us-- for we are risk
of cozying up to the wrong people.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 says; "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness
and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is
there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What
agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As
God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my
people." Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and
I will receive you."
c. The number of times God reached out to Ahab
Over the course of his life, Ahab had multiple encounters with prophets and the followers of God.
What's even more incredible is how God kept on sending them to him.
a.There is no one without excuse. Romans 1:20 says; "For since the creation of the world God's
invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from
what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
b. God's mercy is incredible! Take hold of it today!
As ones living in a time when the rise of atheism is on the rise, and various people declare Allah or
Krishna or ______ to be god, the core message of 1 Kings 20 is this: There is one true God, the God
of the Bible, He is the LORD
He is merciful. He is just. He is holy. He is powerful. He has shown and continues to show that He is
the one true God. He alone deserves our worship and praise.
If you don't know Him. Don't be heart hearted. Don't reject His grace. Turn to Him in faith and
repentance for the salvation of your souls and eternal life
For those of us who have made a commitment: We need to keep on being faithful-- ever grateful for
his mercy in our lives, ever seeking to live holy lives before Him