FORGIVE OUR FOOLISH WAYS
Lord, give me the wisdom to choose the right company.
Read 1 KINGS 22:1–5,29–53
Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
22 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 2 But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel had said to his officials, “Don’t you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?”
4 So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?”
Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
1 Kings 22:29-53
Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead
29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out, 33 the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him.
34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 35 All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died. 36 As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: “Every man to his town. Every man to his land!”
37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there. 38 They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed),[a] and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the Lord had declared.
39 As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and adorned with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 40 Ahab rested with his ancestors. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.
Jehoshaphat King of Judah
41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king of Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 43 In everything he followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.[b] 44 Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel.
45 As for the other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, the things he achieved and his military exploits, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 46 He rid the land of the rest of the male shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa. 47 There was then no king in Edom; a provincial governor ruled.
48 Now Jehoshaphat built a fleet of trading ships[c] to go to Ophir for gold, but they never set sail—they were wrecked at Ezion Geber. 49 At that time Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my men sail with yours,” but Jehoshaphat refused.
50 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of David his father. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah King of Israel
51 Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 52 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. 53 He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.
a 1 Kings 22:38 Or Samaria and cleaned the weapons
b 1 Kings 22:43 In Hebrew texts this sentence (22:43b) is numbered 22:44, and 22:44-53 is numbered 22:45-54.
c 1 Kings 22:48 Hebrew of ships of Tarshish
New International Version (NIV)
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“The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it… judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Three years later, Ahab again succumbs to his habitual covetousness. This time he sets his eyes on the Syrian trade center of Ramoth Gilead. The town has been promised to him by Ben-Hadad of Aram, but never delivered (1 Kings 20:34). Since it is only 40 miles from Judah, King Jehoshaphat of Judah willingly joins the attempt to take it by force. Jehoshaphat is a godly and effective king, but not always a wise one. In verse 4 he responds before he thinks or prays. How often are we guilty of that same error? Sadly, although they eventually hear the Lord’s warning from a godly and gutsy prophet (17–28), both kings fail to heed it. Ahab then cunningly devises a plan to place Jehoshaphat squarely in the main line of ﬁre instead of himself. The plan succeeds in deceiving the enemy, but no one can deceive the Lord. This is the third time Ahab has been confronted by God’s word, and still he fails to realize that it cannot be controlled, evaded or cancelled. A chance arrow fatally wounds him, thereby fulﬁlling an entire series of prophecies (1 Kings 20:42; 21:19; 22:17,23). Meanwhile, the Lord steps in to rescue Jehoshaphat from his own foolishness (32,33; cf. 2 Chr. 18:31).
The summaries of the reigns of these two kings make an interesting comparison. Ahab receives two verses; Jehoshaphat ten. Ahab achieves worldly success; although Jehoshaphat achieves worldly success as well, he is also remembered for his spiritual success. Therefore, he becomes a positive example for future generations. Toward the end of his life, Jehoshaphat ﬁnally begins to make wise decisions and alliances. After a disastrous sea-trading alliance and the loss of a fleet of ships, Jehoshaphat learns how to say “No” to Ahab’s son (49). It is too late for Judah, however: he has already made the worst decision of his life by allowing his son to marry the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Chr. 21:6).
Consider what decisions and alliances are currently before you, your local church and the church nationally. Pray that those involved will hear and heed the word of God.
Lord, because life consists of a series of decisions, keep me from making too many wrong ones.