Today: [2 Chronicles Eighteen] When God Bails You out of Your Own Trouble. In this chapter we see a good king get himself into a bad situation. Jehoshaphat joins with king Ahab to go to battle. He doesn’t consult the prophets. He ignores the horrible character of Ahab and as a result puts his life in danger. In the midst of the difficulty lives are lost but God comes to Jehoshaphat’s defense even though he created the problem in the first place.
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[2Ch 18:1-34 KJV] 1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab. 2 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. 3 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. 4 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. 5 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. 6 But Jehoshaphat said, [Is there] not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? 7 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, [There is] yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same [is] Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. 8 And the king of Israel called for one [of his] officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla. 9 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in [their] robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed. 11 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver [it] into the hand of the king.
In this chapter we see Jehoshaphat joining in a military campaign with Ahab who was king of the northern tribes at the time. The passage begins by observing that Jehoshaphat has riches and honor in abundance therefore he must have thought he could afford to join Ahab in his conquest. There is no record that Jehoshaphat like king David before him inquired of God whether he should get involved in this situation. Often when we are content with ourselves and feeling confident in our position in life we make unwise decisions that in other circumstances would have been unthinkable. Ahab was an evil and an idolatrous king. Ahab was the lifelong adversary of both Elijah and Elisha. In joining hand in hand with Ahab Jehoshaphat was setting himself against the God that he claimed to serve. What possible reason could he have for doing this (and in such strong language as to say “I am as you and my people are your people…)? Before the matter is over Jehoshaphat will hardly escape with his life.
One reason Jehoshaphat clearly joined with Ahab is because of shared history and family ties. Family commonality and past connection will often provoke us to get involved with people and situations we would never consider otherwise. Jesus dealt with this same thing when he made the following statement:
[Mat 12:47-50 KJV] 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
At some point in your life as a believer your fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ will be tested by family relationships and situations. It isn’t our place to foment war and strife in our families however disagreement ultimately comes when our family members see things differently than we do when it comes to matters of faith.
12 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets [declare] good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good. 13 And Micaiah said, [As] the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak. 14 And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. 15 And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD? 16 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. 17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee [that] he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil? 18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and [on] his left. 19 And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. 20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? 21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And [the LORD] said, Thou shalt entice [him], and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do [even] so. 22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
After the battle is set in array Ahab is the first to call upon his own prophets to speak over the battle. Only then did Jehoshaphat speak up and call for a prophet of the Lord. It is interesting that 2 Chron. 20:20 is the strongest statement of support for prophetic ministry and it involves Jehoshaphat who prior to this is an example of a godly leader who is anything but prompt in calling for the prophets of God to speak into his situation. In effect Jehoshaphat is the strongest example in his lifetime of HOW TO and HOW NOT TO relate to the prophetic. After the consequences of 2 Chron. 18 Jehoshaphat apparently learned somethings that we would all be benefited to apply in our own lives.
When Ahab called upon his prophets they came and told him exactly what he wanted to hear. It is important when hearing from God that you don’t make up your mind what is to be said. Jehoshaphat calls upon Micaiah and he simply repeats what the prophets of Baal have said to Ahab. The king is angry because he knows Micaiah and insists on hearing in truth what the Lord is saying to the prophet. Micaiah instead tells a behind the scenes story of how Ahab could be seduced into walking into his own destruction. This is a powerful caution to those of us who come to the prophetic or to the bible or some other counsel with our minds made up about what we are willing to hear. It is of utmost importance that we 1.) ask and inquire of the LORD early before we get into a particular situation, and 2.) be willing to hear counsel that doesn’t fit with what we planned to do in the first place. You have to ask yourself just how correctable you are? Are you will to turn back and make major changes in your life’s plans if that is the counsel of God? How would you know? How willing would you be to discount a prophetic word that didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear?
23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? 24 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. 25 Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; 26 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this [fellow] in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace. 27 And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, [then] hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people. 28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead. 29 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. 30 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. 31 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. 32 For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him. 33 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. 34 And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed [himself] up in [his] chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.
When the battle commences Ahab disguises himself but he insists that Jehoshaphat wear his kingly armour. Jehoshaphat inexplicably agrees to do this and is almost killed in the process. What was Jehoshaphat thinking? He is obviously under the spell of Ahab’s charisma. Many people focus on Jezebel but for every Jezebel there is an Ahab whose evil is just as pernicious if not moreso. Jezebel seduced those such as Ahab that were already bound to evil. Ahab on the other hand was adept and very capable of seducing good men and godly men such as Jehoshaphat to their own near destruction. Jezebel never manifests very far from an Ahab leader. Is there a Jezebel in your life or in the group you are a part of? Better look as well for the Ahab who accomodates and tolerates her behaviour becuase he is much more dangerous.
Ahab commands that the prophet be taken back to Samaria and thrown into prison and torture. Micaiah declares that Ahab will not return from the battle. The Syrians almost mistake Jehoshaphat for Ahab but the Lord helped Jehoshaphat. This is interesting because in Christian culture the commonly held belief is that God will not bail you out of the trouble you get yourself into. The situation with Jehoshaphat proves this to be untrue. Jehoshaphat had no business going to battle with Ahab. He made one error after another because he was self confident and unwilling to seek out the word of the Lord until after his mind was already made up to do what got him into difficulty in the first place. You may find yourself in this position today. You may have painted yourself into a corner and know you are in a bad situation. Despair not. God knows what you are made of. Repent quickly and be willing to lose face before men in order to gain approval before God.
True to the prophesying of Micaiah Ahab is wounded and dies before the sun goes down. Jehoshaphat barely escapes with his life but he has learned a valuable lesson that will serve him well in time to come when trouble comes to his own border and boundary.
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