I was reading through I kings and came across the infamous story of Jezebel and Ahab. Ahab coveted a vineyard that was near his palace but the man would not sale because the land was an inheritance from his father who inherited it from his father all the way back to the days of Joshua. Ahab went home pouting and Jezebel started the 20 questions. She doesn’t have a hard time getting the truth out of Ahab who is whimpering like a sick puppy. She in turn uses his stationary and seal to send a message to the town leaders. Long story short, she has the man who owns the property executed and then she sends Ahab to claim property rights. God tells Elijah what is going on and sends him to confront Ahab…this is how the confrontation begins….
Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And Elijah answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon you, and will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free in Israel because you have provoked Me to anger, and because you have made Israel sin.
Then there is an editorial comment by the writer: Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him.
It amazes me how women can totally dominate men. When make jokes about being hen-pecked but it is really a serious problem. The sad thing is that the men who are living under the spell of a Jezebel don’t seem to know what is going on or don’t care. A lot of men evade responsibility to begin with and if the woman decided to be the head of the house, they gladly yield. I think Ahab would be in this category.
In our last year of Seminary, we served a small rural church in central Mississippi. One Sunday night after church the Treasurer and his wife invited June and I to come over for supper. We were sitting at the kitchen table having a very good time when the phone rang [long before cell phones]. My friend Buddy answered the phone and then he said, “It is for you Bro. Jack.” I was shocked, who knew I was there and why would they call me while I am visiting with another family? Long story short, it was Jezebel in the flesh. I said hello and then the volcano of bitterness erupted. For the next three minutes I listened to her rant and rave. She gave me a piece of mind and thank goodness she ran out of pieces about three minutes into the conversation. When she shut up, I tried to talk but she hung up and that was a mistake. That set off an inter rage which I kept subdued. I finished my visit, determined that she would not ruin my night. The people we were visiting with knew she was crazy so we had a few laughs and then June and I went home. We had not more than got into the house and this women was standing at our back door raving and ranting again.
I pushed the door open which pushed her aside and I walked right by her as if she was not there and I went to the pickup where her husband was sitting. I tapped on his window and finally, he rolled it down enough that I could talk to him. Mean time, she is behind me ranting and raving and I am ignoring her. I said to her husband, “If you don’t get your wife in this truck and take her home, you are going to have to get out so you and I can settle this because I don’t settle these kind of issues by dealing with the wife.” He looked at me like he was in a bit of shock but I just stood there and then he said, “Lee, get in the truck.” She is still on the war path and acts as if she did not hear what he said, but he repeated with a little more authority and the crazy heifer got in the truck and as they back out, she turned on him and was raving at him.”
She didn’t mess with me after that but she tried her luck with June one Wednesday night and that was a mistake on her part. June calmly dressed her down and in front of a group of women. She turned in a huff and left. When our Summer Revival came up, she thought she would try her luck with the Evangelist who just happened to be my father in the ministry. She grabbed him after the service and tried to pull him into a room where she could talk to him privately but he refused to go. He said, “I don’t council with women unless someone else is present and in this case it has to be brother Jack.” She was mad but agreed. As soon as the door was closed, she lit into me and I just stood there. She raved and ranted, calling me all kinds of names and then Bro. Inman interrupted her. Bro. Inman was a very mild-mannered man and she was shocked and I was thankful. He said, “Lady, you have said enough and I want you to know that God is going to hold you accountable for everything you have said about this man of God. I know he is not perfect but I also know that He is God called and God anointed and you have lifted your hand against God’s anointed and that is a dangerous thing.” He would have said more I suppose but she bolted out of the room.
Before Bro. Inman left to return to Marks, Mississippi; he said, “Jack, in all my years of serving churches, I have never seen anything like this woman. I am going to pray for God to move you somewhere else.” I thanked him for his concern but told him the truth: I had to deal with a Jezebel in the little mission church I served in East New Orleans. Her name was Hattie Lange and I think you can find her in a couple of my stories. I said, “Bro. Inman, God may have called me to pastor crazy people, who knows!”
I’ll tell you what I didn’t know: my first church out of Seminary was run by a woman [Matriarch]. She was married to a good man but he didn’t have a prayer; she was physically intimidating and he cowed in her presence. If you could have gotten him away from her, he would have been alright. The entire family moved their letter in just a few months, once that saw that they were not going to get things their way. The man died with cancer a few months later. He sent word that he wanted to see me and I went. I was shocked but they let me in. The family was not cordial but they took me to his bed room where he and I got to talk alone. He made a full apology and asked for forgiveness. I was broken-hearted and gladly accepted his apology. He was a good man who was influenced by an evil woman. As far as I know, she never repented of anything.
The folks at Danville [where I have served for the last 36 years] could not understand why I was so excited about their new CONSTITUTION and BY-LAWS but once I read them, I knew it would be impossible to abide by them and have a Jezebel running the show. Fortunately for me, there were enough good men to help me enforce the By-Laws when necessary. Recently in a Deacons meeting, our senior deacon said, “I don’t know which is responsible for our prosperity as a church, the By-Laws or Bro. Jack’s leadership. Without a moment’s hesitation I said, “It is the By-Laws.” Not a single man in that room including my son understood where I was coming from. I was not faking humility, I was being honest, it was the By-Laws. Any church can grow with a good pastor if he is allowed to be the pastor. DBC is the only church that I have served that allowed me to be the pastor. It is something I am grateful for, an opportunity to lead. Every church will let you preach and visit but not every church is looking for a leader.