Sin always wants more. Solomon said “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full… the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:7-8), and speaking of the destructive effects of lust, Job said: “it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase” (Job 31:12). The effect of sin for the man in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 18 was potentially crushing: “But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all” (Matt 18:25). The suggestion that this man could pay all his debt is of course preposterous – it amounted to around 150,000 years wages! It is the same with us. We could never pay for sin. That’s why we need a Saviour who will pay our debt. Islam’s Mohamed, Mormon’s Joseph Smith, Buddha, or all the gods of the Hindus’ cannot pay. Only Jesus died, paid for our sin and demonstrated his victory by rising again! (see “The Greatest Event In The History Of The World” )
In 1 Kings chapter 20 we see a dramatic example of the insatiable nature of sin, as Ahab, king of Israel, finds himself under threat, and Samaria besieged by Ben-Haded, king of Syria. Ben-Haded presumptuously declares “Your silver and your gold are mine; your most beautiful wives and children are also mine” (1 Kings 20:3). The typical response from any good king, especially when his wives and children are in danger, would be to put up a fight! Even an atheist might consider praying at a desperate time like this! But this is no ordinary king. This is Ahab, the worst king Israel had to endure. The king who not only rejected the God of his fathers, but defiantly went and worshiped other god’s to provoke the LORD to anger (see 1 Kings 16:33).
Incredibly, Ahab’s response is “Err… ok then. If you want it, it’s yours!”. You can picture his wives and children turning toward him in disbelief and saying “you said what?!!” with that ‘don’t we mean anything to you?’ expression!
Now this is where we see the parallel with us and Ahab, for too many people just give-in to sin (the real enemy who has besieged us) without a fight, even though it might cost us our wives and children. Just one example of this is with internet pornography. According to one survey 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women said they had viewed pornography at least once a month. This wrecks marriages and can cause untold damage to children. Did you know that 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18? Among young adults today, pornography use is not the exception. It is the norm. 71% of teens hide online behaviour from their parents, and 1 in 5 searches made on mobile phones are for pornography. (For more info click here).
But this is just one area where sin in today’s world is so easily ensnaring so many – including those who are of the household of God. We now live in a world that elevates self (and ‘selfies’) above all else. Recently there have been a spate of deaths around the world of people who tragically died after (or while) taking a ‘selfie’. In April 2015, a 17-year-old Russian girl fell around 40 feet to her death after climbing onto a railway bridge and getting electrocuted by live wires. The same month a 32-year-old woman in South Carolina, who was posting ‘selfies’ online as she drove, died when she crashed her car head-on into a truck. In another incident a 21-year-old man in Spain was killed by a 3,500 volt electric shock after climbing on top of a train. Russian police have even gone so far as releasing a safety brochure to try to combat this craze! The Apostle Paul spoke of these days when he said:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:1-4).
So what happened to Ahab when he surrendered without a fight? (What happened should serve as a lesson to all of us!) “Then the messengers returned and said, “Thus says Ben-hadad, “Surely, I sent to you saying, “You shall give me your silver and your gold and your wives and your children,” but about this time tomorrow I will send my servants to you, and they will search your house and the houses of your servants; and whatever is desirable in your eyes, they will take in their hand and carry away” (1 Kings 20:5-6).
Seeing how easily Ahab had given in, Ben-Haded – just like sin – came back wanting more! Sin cannot be tamed, it cannot be satisfied. If you give it a little, it will ask for more, until eventually you are consumed. If you allow bitterness, jealousy, anger or hatred to take root, they will not stop until they have destroyed you and taken away your peace. If you become a ‘friend of the world’ (James 4:4) and try to justify the odd drink, or allow immorality into your house in the guise of a soap opera or movie (something that you would be ashamed of when standing before Jesus!), you are giving sin a foothold, and like Ben-Haded, that is all it asks for the first time!
As has been said before, sin will take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay!
How did Ahab escape? Read 1 Kings 20:15. Only God’s grace enabled Ahab to be victorious. And God’s great grace is sufficient for you and me.
Later in this chapter Ahab is told to kill Ben-Haded; but rather than obey God, he befriends him! This is the one who was going to take his wives and children, and now Ahab wants to become friends! Be careful of what you allow to live in your life if God has said it is to be put to death! Never allow yourself to be deceived that you can be friends with what God abhors.
“How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:2-3)
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:13-14)