I Kings 20
Intro: God demands Unconditional Surrender.
Hiram Ulysses Grant (he became known as Ulysses S. Grant because of a mistake on his West Point recommendation letter) graduated from West Point in 1843, an indifferent student ranked 21 out of 39 students. Grant then turned his attention to the larger Fort Donelson on the nearby Cumberland River, a key gateway in the Western Theater guarded by 16,000 Confederate troops. By February 13, 1862 Grant’s 25,000 men had surrounded the fort, with additional naval support. Fighting waged back and forth, with naval bombardment’s weakening the fort’s defenses, followed by a Confederate counter-assault that nearly broke Grant’s lines.
Victory came after the fort’s commander Brigadier General John B. Floyd withdrew his forces, rather than press Grant’s troops. Realizing their situation was hopeless, Floyd turned over his command to General Simon Bolivar Buckner, and he and other Confederate officers, including Nathan Bedford Forrest made their escape, leaving Buckner to coordinate a surrender with Grant.
Buckner had every reason to expect that Grant would agree to a negotiated surrender
Not only was it a standard military tradition of the time, but the two had known each other for decades. They attended West Point at the same time and had served together in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War. When Grant was struggling in his post-Army, pre-Civil War days, Buckner had once loaned him money during a particularly low period in Grant’s life.
To Buckner’s shock, Grant refused to negotiate. On February 16, he sent a legendary response:
Sir: Yours of this date proposing Armistice, and appointment of Commissioners, to settle terms of Capitulation is just received. No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.
In our text, we find the king of Israel has been surrounded by Benhadad, king of Syria, along with 32 other kings and their armies.
He sent word to Ahab that he wanted everything he had. – vs. 3
Notice Benhadad’s claim of ownership. – vs. 3
- Vs. 3 Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
In the Scripture, we find that God lays a similar claim on us, and ours.
I Corinthians 6:19, 20
- 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
- 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
I. The Confession of Surrender – I am thine, and all that I have. vs. 4
A. It was a Public Confession – vs. 2 Not a secret prayer in an altar; but publicly
B. It was a Passionate Confession – vs. My lord, O king… (looked good on the surface)
C. It was a Perfect Confession – I am thine, and all that I have.
II. The Conditions of Surrender – whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes – vs. 6
A. Involved a Searching – and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants
B. Involved a Selection – that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand
PLEASANT: desire, desirable thing, pleasant thing
C. Involved a Seizing – take away
III. The Complications of Surrender – seeketh mischief – vs. 7
It became complicated because of Ahab’s:
A. Dishonesty – he wasn’t really surrendered; he just said he was
In spite of his public, and passionate and perfect confession of surrender, he wasn’t surrendered AT ALL!
B. Disbelief – he never thought that the king would do this; just assume he was
It was a game; a formality; just a ritual to Ahab.
C. Distrust – was afraid of what the king would take
- I Kings 20:7 …see how this man seeketh mischief: for he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him not.
Whatever it was, it was more pleasant, more desirable to him than gold, silver, wives and children.
Only you know what is “pleasant in thine eyes”.
It’s not money or family.
There are millions of people that have neither money nor family; yet are not surrendered to God.
In fact, many people would gladly purchase their “surrender” with money or family if they could keep what is “pleasant in their eyes” all to themselves.
You may not even know what it is that is worth more to you than anything, until God the Holy Ghost walks in and puts it in His hand, and attempts to take it away from you. Then you’ll know.
C. Disobedience – vs. 8 hearken not unto him, nor consent – see vs. 9
- vs. 9 – Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Benhadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
Conclusion: He said he was willing to give up everything, but apparently there was something that was holding him back; something he prized even more than gold, silver, wives and children. Whatever it was, it proved that he was not completely surrendered.
What is holding you back? What is it that you won’t let go of? What are you keeping from God?