The Inheritance Of My Fathers

| June 15, 2020

Naboth lived in the days of the divided kingdom, when Ahab was king of Israel.  He lived in or near the city of Jezrell, in the beautiful valley beneath Mount Carmel, and he owned a vineyard outside of the city.  King Ahab saw the value of the land and wanted it for himself, because he thought it would make a nice vegetable garden.  He offered to buy it from Naboth and promised “I will give you a vineyard better than it.  Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.”  But Naboth replied in defiance and anger: “The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” (I Kings 21: 1 – 3).

Why would the offer to buy a parcel of real estate bring such a passionate and adamant response?  Isn’t everything always for sale, just at the right price?



The answer (and the lesson) is in the little word “of” – the ground was not Naboth’s inheritance from his fathers, but the inheritance of his fathers.

When Israel conquered the land under Joshua, the land was surveyed and lines drawn dividing it among the tribes of Israel.  Then the leaders of the nation gathered in Gilgal, and Joshua drew lots, to see which tribe would inherit which portion of the land.  This survey and division is described in great detail in the Book of Joshua chapters 14 through 19.

The drawing of lots was the Old Testament means of determining the Will of the Lord.  In short, each tribe of Israel received a share of the land and its blessings directly from the Lord.  Then, the land of each tribe was divided among the families, again by lot, so that each family received its inheritance, directly from the Lord.  In the words of Paul, the Lord “distributed their land to them by allotment.” (Acts 13: 19).  Today, we still call the land on which a house is built “a lot.”



The land distributed by the Lord to a family was its participation in His blessings and His provision.  As a family worked the land, they were sowing and reaping as from the Lord.  The produce of the land was His provision.   It was the direct and daily connection of each one to the Lord.

It was a connection that could never be lost, at least not lost permanently.   It might be sold or taken for debt, but every 50 years, in the Jubilee, it all went back to the way the Lord had originally distributed it (Leviticus 25).  This is why you were forbidden to remove an ancient landmark – because you would need it again in the Jubilee (Proverbs 22: 28, 23: 10).

The land passed from generation to generation, as the continuing testimony of the faithfulness in the Lord.  So, to Naboth, this land was far more than a vineyard, this was the Inheritance OF My Fathers, the provision the Lord made when He remembered this family in His provisions.  It was not for sale, not for “another better than this”, not for money, not for anything.  And he certainly was not going to transfer it to the immoral and ungodly man now in power, to get something the world might think is better.



The deal that Ahab offered to Naboth is offered to Christians in business today.   Each Christian is the heir of faith that has been preserved and sustained for generations.  We each have spiritual fathers and mothers, spiritual grandparents, spiritual great-grandparents, reaching back to the first proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ.  To the world, that faith seems as Naboth’s vineyard did to Ahab: something certainly of some value, but confined and quaint: like a vegetable garden.  Certainly there must be things that are “better than it” we could realize in trade – more money, a higher social standing, greater convenience.

But to the man and woman of faith, our inheritance is not for sale.  Faith is our daily link to the Lord, our participation with the Lord in the efforts and the rewards of each day.  Even when we are foolish, the Lord Himself preserves it so that it can never be lost.  And when we look for the ancient landmarks, we find the way laid out clearly before us.



Each year, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, reminds us of the inheritance of our American fathers.  2020 is an election year.  Liberty is a blessing with which we are endowed by our Creator.  Americans live in the first nation to recognize and memorialize this great truth.  It has been preserved to us from generation to generation.  As we choose our elected officials, let us remember that our voices and our votes (in the most sacred practice of our secular society) are likewise the political inheritance of our fathers, in which we all share.  Let us speak and let us vote with the moral courage of Naboth.

Category: Faith

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Email | Website | Thomas Schetelich is a founding principal in the law firm of Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew in Baltimore, Maryland, and a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar. He heads both the firm’s corporate/ business law practice and its personal legal services department. He is an AV rated attorney awarded for highest standards of professional skill and ethical practice. Mr. Schetelich devotes much of his practice to assisting charitable and religious organizations, and is the President of The Christian Professional Network. He is a frequent speaker on Biblical and legal matters throughout the United States.