Moving back to our smaller community I enjoy regularly bumping into familiar faces. This was the birth of the original snapchat, brief conventional conversations that make you feel connected for five minutes, but the moment one turns to walk away, it vanishes into a whining child, recalibrating of the shopping list, new conversation on the phone…During these conversations we find out who is doing what and connecting the dots between who, what, when, where, why and how. Studying the letters to the seven churches in Revelation is proving to be the ultimate connect-the-dot.
Jezebel is a woman we first encounter in the Old Testament (I Kings 16) and then pops up again when the letter to the church of Thyatira is read. I do not know if it is the same Jezebel or symbolical reference to her ways, but in either instance, her name isn’t associated with pleasing God.
Below are five ways you may be acting like Jezebel:
1. Aligning with wrong friends or influences.
Jezebel married a man who worshiped false gods (I Kings 16:31-34), killed righteous men (19:1), and was wracked with jealousy. More than likely you don’t hang around people who are killing others, but when is the last time you looked at your inner circle, the people who influence and shape your life?
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” Proverbs 4:14-15
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
2 .Elevated status
Jezebel was a literal princess, but I pretend to be a somebody I’m not each time I get frustrated with the cashier, barista, car in front of me or voice on the end of tech support. It’s as if I’m saying, “Don’t they know who I am? Why would they remotely think this is a good time to make a mistake or get in my way?” Sheesh, Californian’s are born with an entirely different concept of entitlement and I say that because I’m one of them. What about you? Do you think you deserve more, better and faster because of who you are? God is really clear on this!
“This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance of his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outwards appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
3. Vengeful against those who irritate, resist or oppose
“So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them (already murdered prophets) by tomorrow about this time.” -Jezebel I Kings 19:2.
Each time I read this I picture Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty rising up in the form of an angry dragon. Americans are particularly defensive because we don’t want to wake the dragon and we’re tiptoeing around what we really believe and want to say.
“There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.” Proverbs 12:20
How do you respond when people irritate you? Do people need to walk on eggshells when interacting with you, or do you assume the best?
4. Abuse position, power and privileges to hurt and oppress the innocent for selfish gain
Using her husband’s ring Jezebel sealed a letter she wrote. In this letter she gave instructions for conspiring to have Naboth killed. (Side note, I love that God included Naboth’s name in the bible. This could have easily been written without his name, but God has a heart for the righteous and oppressed and provides dignity by giving a name.)
“So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them…..Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.” I Kings 21:11, 14.
How do you use your influence for good in the course of your everyday life? Do you simply smile politely when people are talking wrongly about someone or do you dignify the silent voice by speaking up? Gatekeepers like administrative assistants, secretaries, and customer support have ample opportunities to help those in need by easing the often difficult process of finding the right person to talk to. Do you ease things for others with your power?
5. Stirs others towards dissention
“But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.” I Kings 21:25
Do you stir the pot or turn the heat off? You know the answer.
“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (Romans 16:17)