Our passage introduces us to a man who refused to sell the farm. A man named Naboth, whose name means “fruit”, lived in Jezreel. Naboth owned a vineyard that was situated beside the summer palace of the Ahab, the king of Israel, v. 1. Verse 2 tells us that Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard and offered to trade him a better vineyard or to pay him cash for his land. It seems like a reasonable offer on the surface. The king apparently was a gardener and wanted this patch of ground close to his palace to raise himself a vegetable garden. But, Naboth refuses the king’s offer.
I want to look at Naboth’s refusal today. I want to talk about the reasons why Naboth said “No!” to Ahab. I want to talk about what this passage has to say to us today. There are some in our world that would try to take away what we have been given by the Lord. When they come to us with their plans and ideas we need to be able to say “It’s Not For Sale!”
I. NABOTH REFUSED BECAUSE OF THE WORD OF GOD
The king’s request seems reasonable enough. He said, “Give me your field and I will give you a better field in return, or I will pay you whatever you ask in cash.” Naboth refused on the grounds that God said he could not sell the land.
God said exactly that: Lev. 25:23-28; Num. 36:7. In fact, the Word of God was clear that the king could not buy the inheritance of the people, Eze. 46:18.
Naboth realized that what he possessed was not his to sell anyway. What he possessed was the gift of God and he was merely a caretaker. Naboth was to keep the land in the family and pass it down from generation to generation.
We need to take an inventory of all the great gifts that we have been given by the Lord. (The church, the Bible, the plan of salvation, our worship, our biblical standards, our godly heritage, etc.) We need to remember that these things are not ours to do with as we please. We are merely custodians of these things. We are caretakers who must pass them along to the next generation. We have what we have because someone took care of it and handed it down, 2 Tim. 2:2. We must do the same!
II. NABOTH REFUSED BECAUSE OF THE WILL OF THE FATHERS
Naboth’s fathers had passed this inheritance down to him, one day he would join them in passing that inheritance down to the next generation. If he sold the farm, there would be nothing to hand down. (That other property would be given back to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee, Lev. 25:13. Any land Naboth bought would go back to the original family at the jubilee. If he sold what he had, Naboth would be left with nothing!) His inheritance had been passed down by the will of the fathers for centuries and he refused to sell what they had entrusted him to pass down to others. Thus, he said, “It’s not for sale!”
If we sell our inheritance we will have nothing to hand down to our children. Let’s consider what we have been entrusted to guard and hand down.
Salvation – People are preaching many plans of salvation and easy-believism rules the land. God knows but one plan of salvation, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:21; Rom. 10:9, 13. We must guard salvation and we do so by proclaiming it, Rom. 1:16! When they try to change the Gospel, tell them “It’s not for sale!”
2. Scripture – Many are denying the Word of God in this hour. The Bible is still the Word of God, 2 Tim. 3:16. It is still powerful, Heb. 4:12. It is still the truth, John 17:17. It is still inerrant, infallible and inspired. We guard it by reading it, proclaiming it and living it out day by day. When they try to take your Bible, change your Bible or offer you another book, tell them “It’s not for sale!”
3. Separation – Churches and the people who make them up are in the business of lowering the walls of separation between themselves and the world. The common adage in our day is this: “To win them we must be like them.” The problem with that is two-fold. 1.) We can’t win them, that is His job! 2.) We are commanded to be separate from the world, 2 Cor. 6:17. The word “separate” means “to mark oneself off from others by boundaries.” It is the picture of building walls of separation between the church and the world. We need those walls of separation in our deeds, our dress, our worship, and our standards. We guard our separation by staying separated! When they try to get you to be like them, just tell them “It’s not for sale!”
4. Shouting – We have been given a heritage of worship in our Baptist churches. There used to be a day when the saints of God would gather at the Lord’s house and they would go to a meeting. They would sing, shout and praise the Lord for his grace and his goodness. Sadly, most of our churches are enveloped in silence these days. Far too few are giving God the praise and genuine worship He deserves and demands, Heb. 13:15; Psa. 47:1; Psa. 98:4. We guard our shouting by doing it! When they try to silence your praise just say, “It’s not for sale!”
You and I have been given a precious inheritance. Our fathers gave us a heritage of holiness, praise, and spiritual power. Many of our fathers died to preserve what we have. We must guard that with our lives so that we will have something to pass down to our children.
III. NABOTH REFUSED BECAUSE OF THE WORTH OF THE KING
Those who would take what we have are not worthy to set a foot on our inheritance. We must not give them so much as an inch; for if we do so, we will be left with nothing to pass to the next generation, Ill. Eph. 4:27. What we have is worth more than pleasing the world, the flesh or the devil. What we have is worth more than fitting in and being accepted. We must guard what we have at all costs. Nothing matters but pleasing the Lord! When they try to take what you have just told them “It’s not for sale!” (Matt. 7:6 – They cannot appreciate or understand what we have in Jesus!)