Signs, wonders and miracles were a big part of Pastor Naboth’s charismatic church, which was built on prayer and firmly steeped in the awe of God. The gatherings were lively and God’s Word went forth powerfully, resulting in healed minds, changed hearts, and saved souls. For the deaf to hear and the blind to see was commonplace. But to see the way the rich shared with the poor was a true miracle indeed.
“Miracles are normal when you connect with Jesus, the divine vine,” the pastor liked to say. “For those who question the validity of these miracles, look at the fruit. With God all things are possible.”
“Yeah, right. Be realistic. You’re a phony through and through,” grumbled old Ahab, the minister from the glitzy church two blocks down the road. Ahab did not believe in miracles.
“There’s something fishy about that pastor and his group of wild fanatics,” he muttered as he dipped his hand into a can of stinky sardines. “I don’t trust the holy laughter. I know he pushes those people down. Someone ought to teach them to take God more seriously!”
As Reverend Ahab grumbled, his wife Jezebel strode in with a pot of nasty tea and a plate of soggy sauerkraut to match her wrinkly face.
“What is it now?” she snapped. “I could hear you whining from all the way down the hall.”
Ahab burst into tears. “I offered Pastor Naboth half my cash stash to lay hands on me and anoint me to do miracles like he does. but he had the nerve to tell me my heart wasn’t right with God. It isn’t fair. I didn’t slave and sweat for all those years to put MY church on the map only to lose half of it to him. Attendance has taken a nosedive and no one cares.”
Jezebel groaned. “Enough of this complaining. I’ll drum up a scandal that’ll bring the pastor and his congregation to their knees.”
And so, the wicked woman hired numerous lying lawyers to take Pastor Naboth to court. They accused him of pushing people down on purpose and performing false miracles for show. Lying witnesses accused him of all sorts of abuse and made it appear as if he’d visited internet sites he never even heard of.
With many a false testimony dipped in poisonous words, Jezebel and her cohorts dumped tons of dirt on the good fruit of the Holy Spirit that Pastor Naboth’s congregation was experiencing.
But though Pastor Naboth’s reputation did get buried, the good fruit of the Spirit still remained. The miracles, signs and wonders that took place in his church could not be denied. For God would not allow the bitter herbs of Jezebel’s wrath to overtake His “vineyard.” He can bring new life out of the deadest circumstance.
As for Pastor Naboth, he praised God amid the fiery trial Jezebel and Ahab put him through. Instead of taking vengeance into his own hands, he died to himself and, in a sense, was resurrected. The bad guys killed him with their words but couldn’t keep him down.
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)