Monday, April 23, 2007counting the cost...
(Click here for Part I of this series)
(Click here for Part II of this series)
Every action has its consequences; whether they be good or evil. In this post, we will have a look to see what the consequences of Ahab's (the wicked), Jehoshaphat's (the compromiser), and Micaiah's (the fundamentalist) actions were. I will probably hold off on making some final comments or sharing some final thoughts on this series until part IV. For now then, consider what:
First off, Ahab died. He died at the hands of the Syrian army in Ramoth-gilead; exactly as the prophet Micaiah had foretold. Despite all his scheming and his great skills as a warrior, Ahab was slained by an arrow, fired totally at random:
"And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded." (2 Chronicles 18:33)
Ahab, the wicked, lived a life of rebellion against God; a life totally devoted to sin. He therefore collected the wages of sin, which is death; both physical, and spiritual (Romans 6:23). Sadly, it didn't end there. Ahab's wife, Jezebel, also met a brutal death:
"And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot." (2 Kings 9:31-33)
Yep, the wicked woman was thrown out of a window and trampled under foot, and we are told a little further that the prophecy of Elijah came true about her: wild dogs ate her body. Not a pretty picture.
Now, if you are wondering who Jehu is, in the above passage, let me explain. You see, the curse God put on Ahab for all his wickedness didn't affect only him and his idolatrous wife, it affected his son. Ahab's son, Joram, lost the Northern Kingdom of Israel to a man God had chosen to destroy the entire house of Abab, Jehu. Not only did Joram lose his kingdom, he lost his life:
"And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot." (2 Kings 9:24)
Death, loss and destruction. That about sums up the consequences of Ahab's way of life.
The compromising believer who refused to heed to the prophecy of a faithful prophet, and allied himself with the wicked wretch Ahab, was bailed out of trouble on numerous occasions, but his losses were GREAT. Consider this foolishness Jehoshaphat got himself into:
"And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him." (2 Chronicles 18:29-31)
Don't ask me how a man can be so foolish... but all this happened. King Jehoshaphat probably lost a lot of his soldiers in this doomed campaign. You'd think he would have learned his lesson, especially when we consider that he got a serious scolding from a prophet of the Lord upon his return to Jerusalem, but no, the Bible records that Jehoshaphat really hadn't learned anything. Ahab wasn't long dead that Jehoshaphat formed an alliance with the new king of the Northern Kingdom, Ahaziah:
"And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish." (2 Chronicles 20:35-37)
Losing these ships probably hurt king Jehoshaphat in capital, since Tarshish was very far away (large, expensive ships were probably built and subsequently destroyed by the Lord). So, because of Jehoshaphat's compromises with the wicked, he was responsible for loss of life in Ramoth-gilead, and the loss of money in Ezion-geber.
It doesn't end there.
Remember how Jehoshaphat and Ahab got together? Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram married one of Ahab's daughters. You want to venture a guess what kind of man Jehoram became?
"Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel... And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD... Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto." (2 Chronicles 21:4, 6, 11)
And for all his evil, the Lord plagued Jehoram. Two years he suffered of an incurable bowel disease, and then he died.
Not exactly a great legacy for king Jehoshaphat. Compromise costs. It costs big.
Other than his incarceration in Ahab's dungeon in Samaria, we know nothing of Micahiah's earthly fate. There is a good chance Micaiah never got out of the dungeon; king Ahab ordered that Micaiah be kept in jail until his safe return (something that never happened).
Now let's suppose Micaiah spent the rest of his days in a Samaritan dungeon. Day-in and day-out, eating the bread of affliction and the water of affliction (2 Chronicles 18:26).
Not much fun.
Then consider what Micaiah saw right after he had breathed his last! What do you think the righteous Lord of the Earth, "who will render to every man according to his deeds" (Romans 2:6), had in store for Micaiah? Do you think Micaiah, when entering in the presence of his God, had any regrets about his fundamental conversation on the Earth?
I don't think so!
As you can see, none of our three characters had an easy time, but only one of the souls suffered for righteousness sake. Stay tuned for part IV of this series, for a few final thoughts...