“Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33).
A lot has been said and written about Jezebel in the last three decades. Some good, some not so good and some downright wrong. There has been some who have gone so far as to suggest that any woman who with a remotely strong personality or distinguished leadership skills can be called a ‘Jezebel’ in Christian circles.
I would like to bring clarity around this issue from my studies and experience here in Belgium over the last eight years. What I will say might shock some and inform others, but I believe that it is necessary to bring clarity to this topic.
Even though I do not believe that there is a particular demonic spirit, stronghold or entity with the name ‘Jezebel’, I too use the name Jezebel to describe the behavioral characteristics of certain people or demonic entities. This is simply derived from the name we get in scripture given to a very evil and manipulative Queen, Jezebel. So, in referring to a person or spirit, it does not mean they carry the name, it is a reference to behavior or characteristics.
From my experience, so much energy has gone into fearing Jezebel or trying to predict or dissolve her schemes and tactics, but that should not be our attention. The solution is much simpler. The way we respond is of most importance. Jezebel is simply not as big as many make it out to be.
The big devil behind it all is Ahab. Once Ahab is dealt with, Jezebel will not be a problem at all.
Ahab was the King. In all understanding of the way a monarchy works, the king is the higher authority. Unless the King dies or, like in this case, is extremely passive, the queen would need to submit under the authority of the king.
The biggest empowerment behind Jezebel is passive leadership. Jezebel does not usurp the authority of the king, but uses it to manipulate and so achieve personal gain. Without the passivity of Ahab, Jezebel cannot function.
When a leader is standing on principle and acts out his delegated authority, there will be no room for the manipulation to take place. Once a leader is insecure and does not stand for what is right, there is a vacuum of authorityjust waiting to be taken in. This is the space which Jezebel steps into and takes the lead.
The biggest enemy in this equation is not Jezebel, but passive leaders, i.e. Ahab!
The reason it is so difficult to see this is simply because the one who makes the most noise gets the most attention. For so many years we have tried to fight Jezebel. The characteristics of this type of spirit or behavior are just everywhere today. Over the last eight years, we have seen many Jezebelic characters trying to get their way in our ministry. I can now spot them a mile away. The reason this attitude has not been able to take over the lead is that we learned to simply refuse to get into a fight with Jezebel. Instead, we focussed our efforts on addressing an ‘Ahab’ attitude. We refused to be passive in our leadership. We did not compromise on our values and principles but instead, we stood for righteousness and truth.
You don't overcome Jezebel by confronting this, but by pro-actively and strongly refuse to compromise on holiness. Let me give an example. When a Jezebel will make you angry, this will open the door for her to take the upper hand. You need to refuse to let go of your love walk and keep God's great commandment as the highest priority. Do not be manipulated by the tactics and fall into the trap. Seek holiness, not revenge. On the other hand, do not tolerate the sin issue, but speak out against it in love.
On many occasions, we were presented with the opportunity to not address sin issues. We all know how messy those confrontations can be. It’s definitely something we all wish we don’t have to deal with. In one case we were even pushed by manipulative parties to stay quiet about gross sin in leadership circles. But we had decided to honor God instead of allowing sin to dominate. Jezebel surely did not like her sin to get exposed, but also had no foothold to stand on and had to leave.
Jezebel can only function where passive leadership allows sin to stay hidden. Jezebel cannot function in a holy and righteous environment.This is why this verse quoted above is focused on the sin of Ahab, and not the queen.
Even in the book of Revelation, it does not say that Jezebel was the problem, but the fact that the church TOLERATED her.
Revelation 2:20 (NASB) But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Whatever you tolerate will dominate. If you tolerate sin in your leadership, Jezebel will have a foothold to manipulate you. The moment you stand strong in your relationship with God and lead according to righteousness, you remove all of Jezebel’s power.
The real problem comes in when Jezebel is tolerated and gives birth to Athalia. Athalia was Jezebel's daughter.
I’ll explain this evil spirit next week. In the meantime - do not be an Ahab who tolerates sin.