The Bible puts a special note towards the end of 1 Kings 21 about how there wasn’t anyone like Ahab who sold himself to do evil. It points out specifically how he went after idols, at the inciting of his wife, Jezebel.
Why is there the extra effort to point out how bad he was? Maybe so we can see how God will notice even when such a sinner humbles himself.
Now, there’s not any true repentance here, but we see another picture of the halfway believer.
Ahab acknowledges God by believing His word, again.
He goes around in sackcloth, again sullen because he’s not getting what he wanted.
God honors the humility Ahab shows before Him and plans Ahab’s family disaster for after he’s dead.
Ahab gets a little reprieve, even though God’s word against him will still be carried out in full.
Ahab was missing the repentance part.
There are Christians who might be quick to acknowledge before God that they are sinners, but not quick to repent, to change.
Humbling themselves is a good thing. It may stay God’s hand against them, but it doesn’t bring salvation.
Acknowledging you are a sinner is just a step towards salvation. True salvation is repentance, a change, a becoming a new creation, either with being born again, or as a Christian becoming new as you overcome another sin and have it cleansed from your life.
Ahab will still die. His family will be destroyed. There was no repentance.
Continually acknowledging before God that you are a sinner doesn’t bring salvation. Humility isn’t a method of salvation. It stirs compassion from God, but you need His mercy.
Without repentance, justice still needs to be carried out. Sins must be paid for. Our debt can’t be paid if we’re still racking up the debt.
Yes, the blood of Jesus is enough to pay for it all. But, we have to turn to Him and receive it!
Turning to sin is turning away from God.
Humility is starting in the right direction. It’s looking down instead of looking at ourselves. But then we need to look to Him. He offers forgiveness. He’s the lifter of our head.