1 Kings 21: Manipulation
A recent book released by a Christian publisher entitled Not Just Any Man: A Guide to Finding Mr. Right explains that the way to find a husband is to practice careful manipulation. For example, the author suggests that a woman should compliment men often. At the office she could say, "I really think you are the best salesman in the company." At church she might "comment on how much more perceptive he is than others or how much more he's thought through his beliefs than other men." The author concludes by saying, "Of course you should base your comparison on some supporting evidence, but don't be too literal." This kind of advice is not new. But since Old Testament days the results of manipulation have been both sin and compromise.
Warming Up to God
Think of a recent time when you manipulated events to your advantage. What factors prompted you to do this? Discuss your sin openly with God.
Discovering the Word
- Naboth refuses Ahab's request because he believes the land has been given to his family by the Lord, and he wants to keep it as his family's inheritance in the Promised Land. Describe Ahab's response from verse 4.
- How does Jezebel react to her husband's behavior (vv. 5-7)?
- In what ways do you think Ahab's behavior was manipulative?
- How does Jezebel attempt to resolve the problem (vv. 8-16)?
- After Ahab's direct approach fails, Jezebel is able to manipulate the situation to Ahab's advantage. Sometimes manipulation seems to work. However, what is the end result (vv. 17-28)?
Applying the Word
- What kinds of actions define manipulation?
- How does our culture encourage the use of manipulative tactics to achieve our goals and desires?
- Think of a situation or relationship in which you are tempted to manipulate. What would be a more Christlike approach?
Responding in Prayer
Recognizing the manipulative patterns in your life is a major step in overcoming them. Ask God to give you insight into the patterns in your life and courage to overcome them.