"He came into his house heavy and displeased. "
Naboth's quick, firm, courteous, final refusal took all the spokes from the wheels of Ahab's desires and plans. Naboth's refusal was a barrier that turned aside the stream of Ahab's desire and changed it into a foiled and foaming whirlpool of sullen sulks.
And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread (I Kings 21:4).
What a ridiculous picture! A king acting like a spoiled and sullen childimpotent in disappointment and ugly in petty rage! A king, whose victories over the Syrians have rung through many landsa conqueror, a slave to himself whining like a sick hound! A king, rejecting all converse with others, pouting like a spoiled and petulant child who has been denied one trinket in the midst of one thousand playthings! A king, in a chamber "cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion" (Jer. 22:14), prostituting genius to theatrical trumpery.
Ahab went into his ivory house, while the sun was shining and the matters of the daytime were all astir, and went to bed and "turned his face to the wall"his lips swollen with his mulish moping, his eyes burning with cheap anger-fire, his wicked heart stubborn in perverse rebellion against the commandment of God. Servants brought him his meal, plenteously prepared on platters beautiful, but he "would eat no bread." Doubtless, musicians came to play skillfully on stringed instruments, but he drove them all away with imperious gestures and impatient growlings. He turned from his victuals as one turns from garbage and refuse. The conqueror of the Syrians is a low slave to dirt-cheap trivialities. His spirit, now devilishly sullen, is in bondage.
What an ancient picture we have of great powers dedicated to mean, ugly, petty things. Think of it! In the middle of the day, the commander-in-chief of an army seized by Sergeant Sensitive. General Ahab made prisoner by Private Pouts! The leader of an army laid low by Corporal Mopishness! A monarch moaning and blubbering and growlingly refusing to eat because a man, a good man, because of the commandments of God and because of religious principles, would not sell or swap a little vineyard which was his by inheritance from his forefathers. Ahab had lost nothing had gained nothing. No one had injured him. No one had made attempt on his life. Yet he, a king with a great army and a fat treasury, was acting like a blubbering baby. Cannon ability was expressing itself in popgun achievement. A massive giant sprawling on the bed like a dwarf punily peevish! A whale wallowing and spouting angrily about because he is denied minnow food! A bear growling sulkily because he cannot lick a spoon in which is a bit of honey! An eagle shrieking and beating his wings in the dust of his own displeasure like a quarreling sparrow fussily fighting with other sparrows for the crumbs in the dust of a village street! A lion sulkily roaring because he was not granted the cheese in a mouse trap! A battleship cruising for a beetle!
What an ancient picture of great powers and talents prostituded to base and purposeless ends and withheld from the service of God! What an ancient spectacle! And how modern and up-to-date, in this respect, was Ahab, king of Israel. What a likeness to him in conduct today are many talented men and women. I know men and womenyou know men and womenwith diamond and ruby abilities who are worth no more to God through the churches than a punctured Japanese nickel in a Chinese bazaar! So many there are who, like Ahab, withhold their talents from God using them in the service of the devil. People there are, not a few, who have pipe-organ abilities and make no more music for the causes of Christ than a wheezy saxophone in an idiot's hands. People there are, many of them, who have incandescent light powers who make no more light for God than a smoky barn lantern, with smoke-blackened globe, on a stormy night. People there areI know them and you know themwith locomotive powers doing pushcart work for God. People there areand how sad 'tis truewho have steam-shovel abilities who are doing teaspoon work for God. Yes! Now look at this overfed bull bellowing for a little spot of grass outside his own vast pasture landsand, if you are withholding talents and powers from the service of God, receive the rebuke of the tragic and ludicrous picture.
And now, consider the third scene in this tragedy of "Pay-daySomeday." It is: