On the Plains of Moab Blog
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November 1, 2011, 6:46 PM

When Sermon Titles Mislead

This past Sunday, the title to the sermon was "A Woman Named Jezebel."  There was only one problem:  The sermon was not about Jezebel!  For sure, her act of extreme callousness towards Naboth and his sons was front and center.  The plot must rank within The Top Ten of the Greatest Wicked Acts in the Bible.  However, the story was not about her.  The story was not about her husband, King Ahab.  Even Elijah played a smaller role in this episode.

The spotlight, as I hope was clear from the message, was on God's justice and God's grace.  God's justice -- announced through Elijah -- because this heinous act did not go un-noticed by God.  He saw what happened.  He was grieved by what happened.  His justice was sure and certain.  This wicked act will have consequences.  Naboth's blood will not fade away.

This story of Naboth is, as I suggested, played out once again in the New Testament on a larger, much grander scale.  In Jesus Christ, we see a man envied, unjustly accused, unjustly tried, unjustly murdered.  The justice in this death is the power of the resurrection to cacel out and cover over the sins of the world.  By faith, even the sin of the most callous of bystanders on that dark day are washed away.  Moreover, grace abounds in this seemingly senseless deed:  Sinners deserving something else, get farmore than they could have ever bargained for!

The connection with Naboth must certainly be that God enters into our suffering.  He is not beyond it.  He doesn't merely sit far from the action and declare justice -- he comes down and engages with it.  This is the thought that keeps me going.  This is what keeps a fire going in the pulpit.  This is why I can never beleive that people could find this stuff boring or second rate. 

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