We are continuing with Jehoshaphat’s reign. Today we see him make an alliance with Ahab, the WICKEDEST king Israel ever had.
The two kingdoms are one people. They are all Israelites; the chosen people of God. But they are not all walking according to His Laws. Under Jehoshaphat, the people are following God. While under Ahab the people follow the golden calves of Rehoboam, the Astaroth, and Baal to name a few. Their physical lineage is identical but not their spiritual lives. Their spiritual lineage was identical until the split, both good and bad.
Jehoshaphat apparently wants to see the kingdoms united again. He chooses marriage instead of war as his instrument of reunification. Nice thought but political fence mending is not what needed to happen. Spiritual reform is what was needed before the two halves could truly become one again.
In the hopes of manipulating Jehoshaphat into joining him in battle, Ahab puts a proposal forth. “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead” (verse 3b).
Because of the earlier marriage of two houses/kingdoms, Jehoshaphat was honor bound to help Ahab in battle. But Jehoshaphat had a condition that had to be met first! Ahab had to seek the Lord on this issue FIRST.
“No problem” answers Ahab as he calls for the priests to his new gods. They are a ‘people pleaser’ group. This group has NO connection to the Lord. They serve the gods that Israel has put in place of God. They give Ahab exactly what he wants to hear; “You got this!”
Jehoshaphat is NOT impressed or fooled by these imposters. He wants to hear from a true man of God. We KNOW from our earlier reading that there is more than just one man of God in Israel, especially since he most famous one is NOT the one Ahab agrees to have brought out.
Ahab agrees to sends for Micaiah. He does not like the man but at least he isn’t afraid of him like he is with Elisha. Elisha was famous for confronting Ahab for his sins against the Lord. Ahab wanted NOTHING to do with Elisha, as far as was possible. But he would tolerate Micaiah.
Micaiah was warned by Ahab’s men before even coming as to what the expected answer should be. Micaiah refused to go along with the ‘party line.’ “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak” (verse 13). Micaiah falls in line and is escorted back to the kings.
When Micaiah told Ahab exactly what he wanted to hear, Ahab was still not pleased. If he had just shut up and taken his “yes” for an answer we wouldn’t know that this was a trap set by God. Was Ahab trying to prove to Jehoshaphat that Micaiah was against him? He told Jehoshaphat that Micaiah never had anything good to say to him. Micaiah’s first answer sounded as if it proved Ahab wrong. Can you imagine the look of shock on Ahab’s face when Micaiah first spoke? He quickly recovered and surmised that there was something else at work here. Something was being hidden from him.
“How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” (verse 15b). How many times did he say this? Is the number closer to none or many? If it was many then Ahab shouldn’t have been dismayed by Micaiah’s answer. If it was none, then I can see Ahab’s suspicion rising up. It seems that Micaiah and Ahab’s prophets never were in agreement.
Micaiah was ready to lay it all out now since Ahab pushed the issue. “It’s a trap. God sent a lying spirit to your prophets to entice you into a battle where you WILL lose your life.”
Instead of respecting Micaiah’s new revelation Ahab instead uses it to illustrate why he hates Micaiah. “He never tells me anything good.” Ahab has Micaiah thrown in prison for doing exactly as he was told; by Ahab and God.
(I was supposed to stop here because of the break in the reading but I have to finish this story.)
Most surprising of all is that Jehoshaphat doesn’t listen to Micaiah’s warning and steer clear of this battle. Instead he agrees to be the stand in and let Syria think he is Ahab. Maybe he did this believing that God would protect him and this was the only way to protect Ahab at the same time.
Guess what. God wasn’t fooled! God did protect Jehoshaphat and He also killed Ahab with a stray arrow. Proof positive that God is NO ONE’S fool! He will accomplish what He sets out to do. Ahab dies in this battle and Jehoshaphat goes home safe. Which begs the question; was Jehoshaphat’s action part of God’s plan to get rid of Ahab? Or more likely, God knew what the outcome and battle contingent were going to be all along.
Father God, thank You for having the WHOLE plan for my life mapped out. Not because I’m some toy You are playing with but because You know me more intimately that ANYONE else, including myself. You knew me before I was even formed. You even knew the exhaustion I would be wrestling with today. Help me rest and wake refreshed please Father.