The title of this devotion might seem rather alarming. It should. You might think that there certainly is no end to God’s grace. You’d be wrong. It’s called death. In confirmation class we learn that the reason why God is so serious about the 5th commandment is that a person’s life is there “time of grace.” It’s the time during which there is still time, they can still repent, they can still believe. Once death comes, that time is over. Whatever the condition of the soul at death, faith or unbelief, so it will always be.
Ahab’s soul doesn’t appear to have been in good condition. We don’t see hearts and we don’t need to but the humility that he showed in the last chapter seems to have completely melted away.He is obstinate, rebellious, ignorant and arrogant. And his time of grace has come to an end.
While man does not have the right to end someone’s life, God certainly does. God does all things in wisdom, justice and mercy. That was true here as well. He had decreed that it was time for Ahab to die. Nothing would thwart that. He used Ahab’s pride against him to cause it to happen. He sent a lying spirit into most of the prophets to cause it to happen. He used luck (yes, luck does exist if by luck you mean “chance” as this chapter describes the arrow being drawn “at random”) to bring him down even though he was disguised. It was time for him to die and die he did. This was justice for all the evil he had done. This was wisdom according to His plan. This was mercy for the people that he had led astray and the believers that he had tormented. Who knows, perhaps Ahab had a spark of faith when he died and it was mercy for him too.
We don’t know and we don’t need to know. Because we know all that we need to know – Our times are in His hands and the decisions that God makes about life and death for each individual are always wise, just and merciful. How can it be otherwise? He is the all-wise God. He is the holy, just God. And He is the God who gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins, for we who are not at all wise, just or merciful. If any of his ways do not seem to be wise, just or merciful, it is only because we are blind. One day, because of His grace we will see and we will praise Him for it.
Prayer – Lord, let us trust that You are wise, just and merciful. When we can’t see anything else, let us see Your Cross. It tells us all we need to know.