She turned down a different road than I had expected. I was probably eight or nine, but I still remember this moment vividly. We were on our way home, and we lived in a neighborhood which was showing signs of not being the most wholesome. I had the way home memorized as a kid, but Mom turned down a different road, glancing in her rearview mirror. “Where are we going? Why did you turn down this road?” I was asking too many questions. She explained someone had been following us quite a while and she didn’t want to lead them to the house.
When Ahab looked in the rearview mirror of his life, he saw something following him. “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” Ahab accused Elijah. “I have not troubled Israel,” Elijah responded, “but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:17-18).
God is longsuffering and waited for the kings of Israel to turn their hearts back to him, but they refused. They dodged down every street and alley, trying to shake trouble from their tail, but to no avail. In 2 Kings 9-10, you read of the day when trouble caught up to Ahab’s family. A young prophet was sent to anoint Jehu as king of Israel and commission him to fulfill God’s vengeance upon a godless family. Jehu eliminates the sons of Ahab and even has Jezebel thrown from a window to her death. You may feel a little grimy reading these chapters, “How could God be so ruthless?”
Throughout Scripture, you can find examples of people who caused a lot of trouble, but eventually, trouble caught them. Joshua asked Achan, “Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones” (Joshua 7:25). Saul “hath troubled the land” and later the Lord sent a spirit which “troubled him” (1 Samuel 14:29 & 16:14).
I’m reminded of the admonition in Scripture, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Often the trouble-maker thinks they are getting away with their ruckus, but, if they’re honest, they see trouble in their rearview mirror. God is not bound by a finite timeline like you and I are. He will repay.
Learn from these bad examples. Every person drifts toward trouble, but we have the blessed assurance, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6).