Monday, February 26, 2007watch out for life's Ahabs...
As mentioned in the first post of this series, king Ahab of Israel knew he didn't have a chance to vanquish the southern kingdom of Judah, so instead of picking a fight with king Jehoshaphat, Ahab became Jehoshaphat's buddy. The two kings, despite their differences in matters of faith, became such good friends, they allied themselves together through the marriage of Jehoshaphat's son and Ahab's daughter. Look at this folly:
"Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab. And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people: that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead. And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramothgilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war." (2 Chronicles 18:2-3)
You know what I think of whenever I read the above Text? I think of the countless e-mails and comments I have received from Romanists. "We are brothers," they claim, and yet, just like Ahab, they are as black as sin itself. "We'll war together against abortion, the homosexual agenda, and other social policies," they say, all the while worshiping before wood and stone.
So foolish Jehoshaphat who had been so wise in guarding his kingdom against the idolaters to the North in the beginning, had now let the king of the North in by the back door. He was now having feasts with the most ungodly king in Israel's history, and making plans to go on military campaigns with him. Foolish indeed, but remember, Jehoshaphat was a saved man (as we saw in part I of this series). Being one of God's saints, Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to inquire of the Lord through prophets in order to see if God wanted the men to go to war together against the Syrians in Ramoth-gilead. A practice that was "a must" amongst all godly kings in Judah. Ahab happily indulged:
"Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king's hand." (2 Chronicles 18:5)
Now Jehoshaphat was compromising and was being a "Class A" fool by aligning himself with wicked Ahab, but he wasn't down right stupid. It was clear to Jehoshaphat that Ahab was presenting him with four hundred "yes men", not prophets of the Lord. That's why Jehoshaphat in the following verse asked Ahab if there was "another prophet" they could inquire of. Ahab reluctantly mentioned the name of a prophet who "never prophesied good of him", a prophet called Micaiah (a prophet not prophesying good of an evil king... sounds promising doesn't it?).
Enter Micaiah. After being warned by Ahab's minions not to prophecy evil of the king, for such a prophecy would surely bring sharp condemnation, Micaiah stands before Ahab and Jehoshaphat and tells them EXACTLY what Ahab wanted to hear. He said:
"Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand." (2 Chronicles 18:14b)
Now it was Ahab's turn to prove that while he was an exceeding evil man, he wasn't down right stupid either. Ahab knew that this prophecy was just to good to be true, especially considering the source. That's why Ahab in the following verse charges Micaiah to stop fooling around a tell the truth. So Micaiah gave him the truth:
"Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace." (2 Chronicles 18:16)
Micaiah even went further. Telling both kings that the Lord had sent a lying spirit, a demon no doubt, to entice Ahab into going into battle against the Syrians. A battle that would go very badly for Israel and would lead to the death of king Ahab. Ahab, of course, didn't like this revised prophecy, and right before king Jehoshaphat eyes, Micaiah's brother-in-the-Lord, had Micaiah sent to the dungeon; and there he would stay until Ahab's supposed return.
So just to be clear, let's recap Jehoshaphat's less than stellar decisions in our Text:
-he arranged a marriage between his son and Ahab's daughter, effectively bringing both families together.
-he visited wicked king Ahab to have feasts with him.
-he disregarded the prophecy of the Lord, warning of the folly of attacking the Syrians.
-he watched a fellow brother-in-the-Lord be persecuted and thrown in prison, and the Scriptures do not record him doing anything about it!
In part III, will study the consequences of Ahab's, Jehoshaphat's and Micaiah's actions... see you then...