It may sound weird to some people – but Ahab had a conscience!
Ahab was narcissistic, deceptive and capable of corrupting the moral-fiber of Israel in the most serious way (1 Kings 21:25-26), but Ahab still knew the difference between right and wrong, and when Elijah revealed the heavy toll of divine judgment his entire family would face, he was actually cut to the heart … in a good way (1 Kings 21:27-29).
Although Ahab referred to Elijah as his enemy on more than one occasion, Elijah was the only true friend Ahab had!
Elijah never threatened the king himself. He could have done so upon Mt. Carmel but he did not. Elijah actually rejoiced at the thought of Israel, including Ahab, repenting of their sins and turning away from idolatry. So how could Ahab consider Elijah his enemy? It was because of the wounds that Elijah inflicted upon his conscience.
Although Ahab may have never admitted it, the “wounds” of Elijah to Ahab’s conscience were far more beneficial than any of the “kisses” offered by the false prophets (Proverbs 27:6). Ultimately, it was Elijah’s faithfulness to truth and Ahab’s unfaithfulness to his conscience that had soured the two’s relationship (Galatians 4:16, John 3:19-21). This was also true of Micaiah (1 Kings 22:5-8, 13-18).
The downfall of Ahab, Jezebel notwithstanding, was his unwillingness to do (or stop doing) what his conscience was telling him to do – and that was listen to what was right.
The lesson for us is clear, when our conscience tells us we’re wrong, and it is backed up by the word of God, we would do well to listen before we start to blame what it right. Because such a mentality can make it extremely difficult to ever admit that the fault lies with us and not with the message or the messenger!
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)