1 Kings Chapter 20:1-43

“Don’t Let the Flesh Live”


This Chapter into 3 sections {2 Battles and a dramatic message from a prophet.  

A)Background: Ahab was a wicked king- Even more ungodly wife. Baal worship


B) God’s battle – Mt. Carmel

1) No rain for 3 yrs – Rain comes


C) Still no repentance!



Yet God is so gracious and patient.

A)In this chapter we get the idea He would love nothing more than to see Ahab turn around


B) Enter King Ben Hadad of Syria who is growing as a regional power.

1) He links himself with 32 other kings in the region & Benhadad decides to flex his muscles against Israel


                                     RD v.1-4









Notice what Ben Hadad is demanding of Israel

A)He wants their silver, their gold, their Children and their wives – V.6 Whatever is precious to you.


B) The enemy of our souls works the same way.

1) JN 10 – Thief and Robber – Kill to Rob Destroy


C) Many time he comes in disguise: Pretends to be your friend.

1) But his #1 goal is destruction – Control you – to take from you – violate you & have his way w/ you


As believers it is important that we understand that we are in a constant battle against 3 forces

A)The world, our flesh and the Devil! Those 3 forces are always against us.


B) Now the Devil is the chief enemy – but he will use the world to entice our flesh/ tempt our flesh

1) To intimidate our flesh.


C) Now two of those forces we really can’t do anything about. {We live in this world

1) Until Jesus comes back the Devil is always going to be an issue for us.


D) He forever is seeking to use things of the world to appeal to our flesh.


E) So we can’t do anything about the world and the Devil but we can deal with our flesh.

The flesh is the part of us that is still connected to the old nature, the old man.

A) Old man: His interest is primarily for taking care of self – pleasing self


B) Whatever makes me happy and comfortable.

1) His attraction is the pleasures and pursuits of the world.

2) Anything that promotes self gratification – even charitable work – self fulfillment is the motivation


C) When a person becomes born again – Becomes a New man given a new nature.  

1) Interest of the new man is the things of God {Spirit thirst

2) Attraction is the things of the Kingdom – things of Heaven.


D) But even though we are born again the old man the old nature still exist –

1) Flesh and the spirit war against each other


E) The only way for the Spirit to reign is the old man needs to be put in his place –


This Chapter is a good illustration of that Battle

A)Ben Hadad is like the flesh – wanting Control wanting to rule 


B) The flesh demands dominance – It wants to be king! We must make a stand

C) Now at first it seems that Ben Hadad’s apparent intention here is intimidation not attack

1) But when Ahab reacts in such a compliant way – Ben Hadad decides to cash in


D) He gives Israel 24 hrs to comply. This was a definite declaration of War.

                       RD V.5-12


At first glance it almost seems like the Lord is going to use Ben Hadad to punish Israel & Ahab for all of their wickedness and rebellion


13 Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, "Thus says the LORD: 'Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the LORD.'"


B) What an awesome picture of God’s grace and patience.

1) “Ahab I want to prove to you one more time that I am the Lord


C) Ahab obviously didn’t get the message on Mt Carmel – when God brought down fire

1) When He did what Baal couldn’t do {3yrs no rain


D) God’s patience – I want you to know that I am the Lord – that I am for Israel



Sometimes I find myself saying to the Lord – I can’t believe you put up w/ me

A)So lacking in faith at times – I falter – I don’t react to things like I should – He is so gracious


B) I read a passage like this I am blown away: He is way more gracious than I can even imagine

1) Grace to Ahab {God is still after Ahab – Ahab I want you to Know I am the Lord {WOW!


C) The Lord promises to give a victory

1) Notice when the prophet showed up though!

It was only after Ahab decided to make a stand


D) Principle in this: When ever you are ready to stand against the flesh – God is ready to intervene

1) Doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen, how many times you have failed.

2) How wicked you have been


E) Victory is possible in JESUS – the moment you are ready to make a Stand.


14 So Ahab said, "By whom?"

And he said, "Thus says the LORD: 'By the young leaders of the provinces.'"

Then he said, "Who will set the battle in order?"

And he answered, "You."




Notice here that Ahab is going to have to be involved in the process of Victory.

A)He is the one who is going to have to call forth the army – appoint the young men who will go out


B) I point this out because some people tell me I prayed that God would help me over come my addiction to Alcohol

1) Struggle with Porn / Whatever


C) I prayed but nothing happened –

1) Did you get rid of all the booze in your house –No

2) Did you quit going to places that serve it – No

3) Did you unplug your computer – No

4) Disconnect the cable – no

5) Get a filter for computer – no


D) Listen God is waiting for us to do what we need to do!

1) He is ready to move in power/ he is ready to bring victory – but he is often waiting for us to do 1st step!


E) Move away from the wrong friends

1) Break off the inappropriate relationship


F) Struggling? What is it that God has been saying to move away from?

1) Do it and victory – power – His presence will be the result - Take the first step!


RD V.15-21 Comment on Mustered = not easy

So God did exactly what He promised and Israel was Victorious.

A) After the victory the prophet comes to Ahab and gives him some very wise counsel V.22


And the prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, "Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for in the spring of the year the king of Syria will come up against you."


B) The Prophet tells him this is not the end of Ben Hadad – He will attack again- so strengthen yourself.

1) Not a time for Rest – not a time for getting cocky or thinking you are strong.


C) The enemy is going to come back {the enemy always keeps coming back


This is such a good thing for us to remember

A)The flesh is always on the attack –


B) We need to constantly be strengthening ourselves

1) Two natures are like two dogs – the one that wins is the one that is fed the most.


C) A victory is not a time to get lazy!

1) Should be the Fuel to feed the fire to get stronger


D) Foolish to ever think – I am doing so much better I a can handle this – I can handle that

1) Working out – Can’t stop – lose it fast / same

C) Constantly strengthen the inner man.

1) Jonathan to David – Strengthened his hands in the Lord


D) Later – David did the same for himself.

1) Some people are always looking for someone else to strengthen them – spoon fed


E) Need to learn to get into the word on your own

1) Develop a steady devotional life – If lacking need help come talk to one of the Pastors


So this was the first Battle – Now the scene shifts to defeated Ben Hadad. RD V. 23-27

A)Wow what a picture – Israel’s 7000 looks like two little flocks of goats


B) The Syrian multitude looks like a city! Huge

                                RD V. 28-30


C) WHY did the Israelites win?

1) Because the Syrians thought that the Lord was only the God of the hills.


D) Satan still makes that claim “Christians are happy as long as they’re high....

1) But get them in the valley and they’ll become defeated, embittered, just like anyone else.”


E) The SAME spirit that was in Benhaddad is alive and well in the world today.

NOTE: God says: “I’ll show him - I will let my people go through the valleys of life to PROVE that I am the God of the valley as well...

A) I can give them joy and peace even when they are in dark times and deep waters.”


B) QUESTION: Is YOUR God the God of the valleys as well as the God of the hills?

1) Or do you only acknowledge Him as God when you are on the mountain top?


C) Listen IF God has given you the PRIVILEGE of being in a valley experience,

1) it is to show demonic entities and a watching world that YOU are NOT a mercenary...


D) That you do NOT serve the Lord for your own welfare and well-being...

1) But that you are a lover of the Lord regardless

2) and that He is the Lord of Lords, whether in the hills or in the valleys.


E) SO God gives Israel another Victory: Notice yet again God is still after Ahab – v.28 I want you to know that I am the Lord!


Now Ben Hadad gets away What happens next is interesting RD V.31-34

A)So Ahab is making treaty with the enemy! Brother – give me a break – this the Wrong move –


B) Ben hadad should have been destroyed!

1) That seems to Harsh Pastor Rob


C) Samuel with Agag – Hacked him into pieces

1) That is how you deal with the flesh – Swiftly and aggressively.


D) Leads us to scene 3 The Prophets – RD V.35-36


This word of the Lord did NOT make sense to this guy, and so he refused to act in obedience to it....

A) So he ended up slain by a lion


1 Pet 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your

adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about,

seeking whom he may devour:


B) NOTE: Satan eats up the one who says: “I don’t understand the Word so I won’t obey it”

1) That is always a recipe for disaster!


                          RD V.37-43



So God rebukes Ahab for not dealing with the enemy and pronounces judgment upon him.

A)Instead of repenting and admitting he is wrong and asking for mercy – he sulks and is displeased


B) Ch.21 next time – he still has no heart for God – but is the picture of a man given over to his flesh

Now here is what we need to understand Ahab’s victories over Ben Hadad was completely due to  

       the Power of God working on behalf of Israel

A)He was able to go forth into battle from a position of strength and confidence {God was w/ Him!


B) His demise would come as the result of not dealing firmly enough with the enemy!


Application for us!

A) We face the same choices in dealing with the flesh


B) We battle from a position of Power & Strength

1) Christ is with us – IN us


Gal 2:20

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.


Rom 8:37

We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.


Romans 6:






Colossians 3:9-10

 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,  and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,


Eph 6 Stand Fight

A) God calls us to stand/ to fight in the power that He supplies


B) To walk in victory over the flesh

1) Fight not FOR Victory but FROM victory


C) Like Ahab & Saul our Demise will be from dealing lightly with the Flesh

1) Don’t play games with the flesh


D) Don’t make treaties with the flesh

1) Don’t cater to the flesh


E)  Leaven grows –

1) Lion cub grows


Tonight lay hold of the victory

1)   Fresh filling of the spirit

2)   Come to grips w/ flesh – stand / surrender