“I will remember that day for the rest of my life.” Have you ever said that? One of my memories was actually the first time I got to out on a motorcycle ride with some friends. It was my first motorcycle and I was very new at riding. We drove all over the city and eventually ended up at Wyandotte County Lake to ride the curvy roads around the lake. I was having a great time, until we started encountering some of the most curvy roads I had been on while driving my motorcycle. Suddenly my mind was filled with fear, my body tensed up and riding my motorcycle wasn’t so fun. I was scared. Thankfully my friends recognized this and stopped for a minute. As we stopped, a young man on a very fast motorcycle with a young girl on the back came revving by. He stopped at the top of the hill right where we were and flew down the hill into a sharp curve. He was showing off and looking around, when all of a sudden, he realized he was not paying attention and going too fast into the curve. I’ll never forget the sound of his girlfriend yelling and his bike sliding across the pavement. Thankfully they were ok…his bike was not!
At that point my friend pulled me aside and told me this – where you look while driving a motorcycle is where you will go! And you know what…he is right. If I stare at the curb, eventually I’ll put my bike in the curb. Well, life tends to work that way too. What you give your attention to definitely determines the direction that you will go! If I give my attention to my family and my wife, I find that I move closer and closer to them. When I give my attention to the Lord, I find that I move down a path that allows me to hear from Him over and over.
1 Kings 16 introduces us to a King in the northern portion of Israel – King Ahab. If you’ve read much of the Old Testament you’ve heard about Ahab and his wife Jezebel. If you’ve never heard the story, there is a reason I would never encourage to name your daughter Jezebel! Ahab gave his attention to a woman (Jezebel) and eventually married her. Her father had been the high priest of the Phoenician god Baal – a god of fertility who was often worshipped by self-harm and sexual immorality. Jezebel aimed to lead the Israelite people into the same practices and Ahab listened.
In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.
34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun. (1 Kings 16:29-34)
- Outside of work and family, what tends to capture your attention? Are you satisfied with that pathway?
- Verse 31 states that Ahab thought certain idolatrous practices were “trivial” or no big deal. Where in our culture do we tend to treat dangerous things as “no big deal”?
- Ahab’s attention lead to his destruction. Where do you think your attention is leading you? Is it leading you towards healthy and helpful destinations?
- Is there anywhere you are headed towards a crash? Are you ready for a change?