In this chapter, we see the man who acquired wicked gain by lies (ch. 21, Naboth), now meets his fate by lies. God has a way of returning a man's ways upon him. They that live by the sword shall surly die by the sword. Ahab lived by lies, and now he dies by lies.
V. 1. Three years without war... It has now been three years since Ahab had destroyed the 254,000 men of Syria and Benhadad. Ahab had turned Benhadad lose when he was to kill him. (20:42.) The result of Ahab's disobedience was therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. Here in chapter 22, we see the exchange taking place.
We, as God's people, can be assured that the sin that was appointed to destruction and that we allow to survive, will resurrect' and destroy us. Notice that sin will even submit to keep from being put to death. Benhadad put a rope around his neck, and submitted to Ahab. Ahab was suckered in, and spared him. Now the bill comes due.
Ahab knew how this war was to turn out, so why did he enter into it with such zeal? Maybe he believed his false prophets.
V. 2. Ahab, king of Israel - Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
Now here is a strange and confusing mixture. The kings of Judah intermarry with the kings of Israel, and they name their children after each other. The more one considers it, the more confusing it becomes.
Jehoshaphat had allowed his eldest son, Jerhoram, to marry Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. We see in 2 Chronicles 22:10, 11, that she inherited her mother's evil personality. It is revealed in her effort to kill all the heirs to the throne of Judah, so she can reign. Only Joash escapes.
Evidently, Jehoshaphat had allowed this intermarriage in order to strengthen their armies together against Syria. It was absolutely useless to intermarry in order to strengthen his army, for Jehoshaphat tried to serve God, and to bring things back into line with the Lord. Note 2 Chronicles 17:10, And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. God did not even have to fight for him; he did not even have to go to war, for God caused his enemies to fear him, even so much as to bring gifts to him. There just was no excuse for his unity with Ahab, and God severely condemned it. 2 Chronicles 18:1-19:2.
Question: Can the Reformed movement that is trying to call every area of life and thought, society and government, back to God join with the ungodly for a common cause against a common enemy?
Example: In the Fundamental movement, the Moral Majority is a good illustration. They joined with about anyone to fight a common enemy, such as abortion, and look at what happened to the MM.
Can we, with God's blessings, join the ungodly against a common enemy, as a great many are doing?
2 Chronicles 19:2, can we join with the ungodly, those who deny the Lord and his command-word, so that Benhadad and his armies might be destroyed?
Jehoshaphat already had peace with his enemies. It looks like he only stirred up his enemies by joining with Ahab, and he lost God's protection, incurring God's judgement against himself.
Notice the judgment did not come in Jehoshaphat's life time. He continued to clean out the garbage and teach the word of God, and to call his people back to God. In fact (2 Chronicles 18:31), the Lord even spared him in his unbelief. But he had the wrath of God upon him. Look at what happened to his son.
How to have peace
Notice 2 Chronicles 17:9, 10, and from where the fear of the Lord on his enemies. It came from his teaching the law of the Lord throughout the land over which he had control. It did not come from teaching the surrounding heathens the Law of the Lord.
Peace with our enemies does not come from getting the ungodly to help us, nor from us helping the ungodly against a common enemy. Safety does not come from numbers, as we are led to believe by human reasoning and everything around us.
Peace comes from teaching the Law of the Lord to God's people.
Now here it is talking of nations. For the nation to join with a God and Christ denying nation for mutural protection is wrong. But now the question arises: can we condemn them without carrying it down to the local level?
This is just what Solomon did; he joined with the king of Egypt through marriage of the King's daughter. He id not have to marry her for peace, for the Lord had promised him peace from the very start. Did Jehoshaphat's son married Ahab's daughter for the same reason?
Remember 2 Chronicles 18:18-22. Ahab was being led by God into battle for his destruction. (Thank God we do not know what is going on behind the scenes when we make decisions.) By Jehoshaphat going with Ahab, this could interfere, and cost Jehoshaphat his life.
When the Godly join with the ungodly:
1. The godly are saying God cannot protect them.
2. The godly may be interfering with God's chastising or dealing with the wicked.
3. The godly are entering into presumption, saying God will take care of them even though they are not fighting the Lord's battles. Rather, they are fighting the ungodly's battles, 1 Kings 22.
Vv. 3, 4. Jehoshaphat sais that the two people, Israel and Judah, are one. His son is married to Ahab's daughter. Here, Jehoshaphat, a bright spot in the apostasy of Judah, saw nothing wrong with allowed his son to marry a heathen.
Balak tried to destroy God's people from the outside, He could
not, Numbers 24:13.
Baalam told Balack how to get God to destroy his own people, Numbers 31:16.
God's people, Judah, under Johashaphat's teaching of the word of God, became a terror to their enemies, accomplished by God placing fear in their hearts. Judah could not be destroyed by from or by her outside enemies. They had God's protection.
But the godly married to the ungodly results in the wrath of God upon Judah. (See my notes on Numbers 22.) So where Judah had been protected by God himself, now Judah has God against them. Why? Because Joheshaphat allowed his son to marry a heathen, joining the two people the godly and the ungodly. (2 Chronicles 21:5, 6.)
The enemy is smart. He knows he cannot destroy God's people from the outside, but using whatever means possible, if he can get God's people to compromise, then God himself must take steps against them. God's people see nothing wrong with intermarriage among the heathens, and bring God's hand against them by their own foolishness and sin.
Notice: It is not just a matter of unlawful marriage between God's people and the unbelievers, it is in other areas also. Even seemingly as small of things as allowing members of the household to walk around in the house without proper clothing can cause problems. (Leviticus 18:6.)
God's people are not destroyed by outward pressure against them. But it is the inward pressure to compromise that presents the problems. Even today, compare Western Christianity with the Christianity that survives under the Muslims.
"We have always done ...., and nothing bad has happened."
Even the little, seemingly innocent things have bad results therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. (2 Chronicles 19:2.)
God did not strike Jehoshaphat dead, but waited many years to bring it to pass in the days of his son.
Notice also that Jehoshaphat never repented of this sin, even after it was pointed out to him. He went back home as though nothing had happened. God always many years to pass, in his mercy, before the results come to pass. Why? God is mercifully, and he waits in hope that his propel will make the sin right. Jehoshaphat never did, though he knew the problem and the result.
Human nature is quite difficult to corral. It is much easier to go on in one's way: Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11.)
Maybe he did agree that his action with Ahab was sin, but he was unwilling to make it right.
RESULT when Jehoshaphat died, the very person he allowed to come into his family, the heathen sin that was allowed in (the pagan daughter-in-law) killed all the royal seed except Joash. (2 Chronicles 21:1-22:10.)
We cannot ignore God's word and survive.
Jehoshaphat, even after his experience with Ahab, still determines to serve God with all his heart, but that could not make up for his compromise here of joining with Ahab. Only confession and forsaking the sin could do that. He should have chased his daughter-in-law from the house also. If he had known what she would do in destroying the royal seed, he would have removed her. (Ezra 10:17-44, Nehemiah 13:23, 24.)
We can say the Old Testament laws and principles have no effect today all we want to, but that will nto render them invalid. They apply just as much 2000 years after the closing of the Old Testament (from Christ untill now) as they did 2000 years before even the giving of the law through Moses. They applied in the Garden to Adam and Eve, though they did not have them written down. In Gothard's words, though he uses the words not to refer to God's law, God's laws are "non-optional, universal life principles." They applied to Noah, Nimrod, Cain, Abraham, Moses and apply to us today.
Jehoshaphat could not believe God's word applied to him as he set out to serve God with all of his heart. He was good enough in every other area, he felt he did not have to worry about his son running with the wrong crowd, and marrying the wrong girl.
He did not have to worry about helping the ungodly Ahab out of what he saw as a mutual problem, Syria.
God would overlook it, or so he no doubt thought as he tried hard to serve the Lord in every other area. But God did not forget.
Jehoshaphat set the wheels in motion with his indifference in the little things, and he never made it right according to Proverbs 28:13, 14. His children and grandchildren were overrun with the results. (2 Chronicles 19:2.)
Jehoshaphat's good did not outweigh his bad, as he probably hoped it would, and a very large percent of God's people have the same hope in the back of their minds. They violate the little things established by the Lord. The hope is that they can avoid the results by doing enough good in other areas without having to go back and reconsider the one small area. 2 Chronicles 19.
Christ paid the penalty for sin, death, but the law of sowing and reaping is still very much in effect. The only way it can be interrupted is Proverbs 28:13, 14. Bring even the little areas under the authority of the word of God.
Until the one area we are not willing to admit a wrong in is repented of and forsaken, then therefore is the wrath from before the Lord. (2 Chronicles 19:2.)
Jehoshaphat, as many of Gods people do today, believed he could avoid the results by religious activity in other areas, but let God be true and every man a liar, for the law-word of God will always stand in the end. Heaven and earth shall pass away before one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law. (Matthew 5:18.)
The little things creep in and undermine God's people: The little ideas, feelings, thoughts, compromises these things bring God's hand against His people, and the enemy sits back and laughs as God moves against his own people for their sin. Jehoshaphat's results did not come to pass until after he was dead.
V. 5. Jehoshaphat joins Ahab (Israel). Ahab had a word fo prophecy against him. (22:20, 21.) Was his design here to try ot prevent the prophecy from coming to pass? Proverbs 11:21, one can make all kinds of deals between the godly and ungodly with the ungodly trying to avoid the wrath of God, but it will not work.
Remember the background here is 2 Chronicles 17. Evidently, the only reason Jehoshaphat is helping Ahab is because of an ungodly friendship caused by his son marriage to Ahab's daughter.
Teaching the Law results in enemies fearing God's people.
Judah is just a small group of people, only two tribes left to follow the house of Daivid. Their safty was found in 2 Chronicles 17:9,
And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. 10 ¶ And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
God moved in the hearts of Judah's enemies, and protected them. As Jehoshaphat taught the law, people who wanted to serve the Lord were drawn to him. The Lord himself strengthened his hand, and prospered him. (2 Chronicles 16:1.)
I believe that if we expect God's hand to move to strengthen his people today, pastors and teachers must get back to teaching the law of the Lord. Anything less is joining affinity with Ahab. (2 Chronicles 18:1.) No doubt this is a reason the enemy has worked so hard to convince God's people that the law is not for today. Such a belief keeps God's people trod under the foot of the ungodly.
This nation was once a godly nation, feared by her enemies. Now the enemies have no fear, and the nation has no God except the god of self and mammon.
Notice 1 Kings 22:2, The king of Judah CAME DOWN to the king of Israel. God's man must COME DOWN from God's protection when he makes a deal with men against even a joint enemy (Syria).
Our safety is in teaching our people to fear the Lord, and serving him. The implication here is that as God's people fear the Lord, so do the heathens. On the other hand, as God's people lose the fear of the Lord, so do the heathens, and they set about trying to destroy God's people. It stands to reason that if God's people od not fear him enough to live for him and stand for him in their lives, then how can we expect the enemy to fear God. As God's people fall away from the fear of the Lord, the heathen only follow them away from Godly fear.
If God's people do not fear God enough to train their children in his ways in every area, then it is no wonder the world's crowd lose their fear and respect for the Lord, and start "nipping away" at his people.
Jehoshaphat lost his fear of the Lord.
1. Allowed his son to marry an unsaved girl, Ahab and Jezebel's daughter.
2. Joined with Ahab to fight a common enemy.
Result #1. 2 Chronicles 18:31, the king of Syria would have killed him if the Lord had not intervened.
Result #2. Wrath of God against Jehoshaphat, as seen in the loss of his children, including Joash. (2 Chronicles 19:2, 24:24.)
How can we expect Syria to fear the Lord, or have the Lord's fear placed there, and even think of abiding by the Commandments when God's people do not fear him, nor see any need to abide by the Commandments? How can we claim God's protection when we will not meet his conditions.
The problem is not that the heathens have lost their fear of the Lord, as seen in their attack against the Church and the Lord's work. Their actions are only a result of the problem Christians no longer fear the Lord, nor keep his commandments.
> How can the fear of the Lord be restored? 2 Chronicles 17:10, by teaching the book of the law of the Lord.
> God's people, even Bible Believing Churches, have lost the fear of the Lord, and now they fear man rather than God. They seek man's approval for their actions, rather than the Lord's.
> God's people compromise for what is expedient over what is right.
> People are turning over their areas of responsibility to the State, rather than accepting those areas themselves.
How can we expect the kingdoms of the lands that are round about to fear the Lord so they will make no war when God's people do not fear the Lord enough to stand (and vote) according to God's word? (2 Chronicles 17:10.)
> sacrifice their children to the State when they allow the State to educate their children.
> sacrifice their churches to the State through incorporation.
> seek the State's approval over the Lord's aproval.
> seek after human intellect and intelligence to meet present and furute needs rather than claiming the promises of God.
> train their children in the ways of the world instead of the ways of the Lord.
The list is endless 2 Chronicles 20 gives quite a list. Read it, and see. V. 3, Jehoshaphat seems to have learned his lesson, and sets himself to seek the Lord. But he soon forgot, and joined again with the ungodly, King Ahaziah, v. 35.
> Twice Jehoshaphat sought the Lord, and twice the Lord came through for him.
Twice Jehoshaphat joined with the ungodly, Ahab and Ahaziah, and twice the Lord judged him. His children were destroyed.
How like us today. We seek the Lord in our hour of desperate need, and he delivers. We become confident in our own strenght, and then call down the judgment of God upon us as we turn from him to ourselves; this truth is illustrated many times over, e.g., 2 Chronicles 26:5, 15, 24:20, 21:10, &c.
As long as Jehoshaphat feared the Lord, so did his enemies. When Jehoshaphat lost his fear of the Lord and turned to human reasoning and means, his enemies lost their fear, and moved against him.
How like a rollercoaster we are today, but there is no excuse, nor is there an escapeing the results.
Twice Jehoshaphat turned from the Lord, and twice he returned, and the Lord delivered him. What does Jehoshaphat's experience show us?
His experiences were not coincidence, but the never changing law of God in action.
As the people of God fear the Lord God, teach his law-word and try to abide by it, the enemies will have the fear of God in them also past US history has proven that this is still in effect.
As God's people lose the fear of the Lord, there is no way we can expect the unsaved to fear the Lord and even respect his law-word. Even the mention of God has been removed from all public assemblies, particularly from education, because the fear of God and his law-word has been removed from the vast majority of his churches and people.
We must return to teaching the people from the book of the law of the Lord if we expect the Lord to move in favor of his people in the hearts of the enemies.
Note we are speaking of teaching God's people. The unsaved must be taught the Gospel of Christ, and then treated as God's people upon conversion. Is this not the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19, 20?
Remember, it is the law tha tbrings men to Christ. The law is the schoolmaster. The law reminds or teaches us the need for grace for salvation. Is this why we have an easy-believeism today? No emphasis on the law which was given to show how short we are of God's demands. The more a man sees his short comings, the more he will claim the grace of God.
C.H. Spurgeon on Luke 4:27:
I learn, from this incident in our Lord's life, that it, is not the preacher's business to seek to please his congregation. If he labors for that end, he will in all probability not attain it; but, if he should succeed in gaining it, what a miserable success it would be! He must lose the favor of his Master if he should once aim at securing the favor of his fellow-men. We therefore ought to preach many truths which will irritate our hearers; we ought to declare to them the doctrines which are, really for their present and eternal welfare, however distasteful they may be to their carnal reason and natura1 inclinations. As the physician must give bitter draughts to his patients if he would cure them of their diseases, so must the preacher, who is truly sent of God, proclaim unpalatable truths to his, hearers, and he must preach the more, often upon those very bitter truths because, men are so unwilling to receive, them. That part of the gospel which they will readily embrace without any persuasion need not be, preached so, often, but that part which they will kick at and resist must be enforced again and again, if haply at last their judgment should be convinced of its truth, and their heart, won for its reception. (Sermon #3,061.)
In other words, God's curse is against preaching to the crowd or to the purse. Is it any wonder why God's people are so powerless and worldly today, as implied by 2 Chronicles 17:9, 10.
The law shows us our need to be in Christ for justification.
(Galatians 3:24, 25.)
The law shows us how short we are of God, and how much we need Christ.
Once we have been shown our need of justification by the work of Christ, we no longer need the law to show our need of justification. We are saved and kept by him.
But without the law, we will not know the holiness of God. He will be not much more than "the man upstairs", but as the Christian is taught the law, he will see the holiness of God, and also his need for God's grace to meet that standard of holiness demanded of us by God. (Leviticus 11, 44, 45, 1 Peter 1:16.)
The law used to show the unsaved the holiness of God, and the only way that the holy God can be pleased is through Christ. However, when the law is no longer taught, the saved man loses sight of the holy God, and he lives as seems best to him. "After all, he now has the Spirit to guide him, so he has no need of the law."
This results in a distorted view of the Lord God, and in a worldly Christian. The Christian loses his fear of the Holy God, feeling like God is not much more than the friend next door, a man who will help us when we get in trouble. He stays on his side of the fence, and we stay on ours, and all is fine.
On the other hand, when the book of the law is taught and applied to every area of life, the Christian then sees the holiness of the house in which he now lives, and his complete inability to accomplish the task of pleasing the householder, and of his desperate need of the grace of God to please the holy God.
We preach and teach John 3:16, which we should, but that message is to the unsaved. The message to the saved must be Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty. (Revelation 4:8.)
The law of God reveals to man the thrice holy God, and mans need of God's grace to live a holy life day by day. We preach and teach Romans 6, but leave out or pass over lightly v. 19, even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Where does God define holiness? In this law!
We must call people back to the thrice holy God. He is not the nice man next door who will come rushing to our aid to bail us out of the trouble we got ourselves in by going our own way. Rather, he is the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.
Is this not the root problem even with the Church-State struggle? Only when the church sees that it is responsible to the Thrice Holy God will it quit yielding to the humanistic State control.
Notice Revelation 7:7-12. The overcoming church was the one that realized the holiness of God. The lukewarm church was afraid to stand for fear of losing its wealth.
Philadelphia desired to please the Thrice Holy God.
Laodicea desired to please self.
We need to catch a glimpse of the Holiness of the Lord God Almighty.
Isaiah 6:1-6, he is high and lifted up.
V. 3, Holly, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. (The Lord Jesus.)
Have God's people lost sight of the holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ, and relegated him to not much more than a good friend with no holy written standard, demands, by which to live?
How has he been relegated to such a low standard? 2 Chronicles 17:9, 10. The book of the law is no longer taught to Christians. You can not build a proper respect, fear of God, on John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 13, nor even on Acts. God's people feared God when taught the books of the law of God.
The enemies of God's people had the fear from God put into them by God as God's people feared God.
How can we expect the unsaved to fear God when God's own people do not even fear God?
Comment? The early church feared God, so why persecuted? It was persecuted to drive it into all the world. There are many questions, but we cannot get around 2 Chronicles 17:9, 10.
Note v. 11:
Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
Zechariah 14:14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
Implied above is that the wealth of the heathen is laid up for and will come to the just. When?
1 Kings 22:6 (Chapter 22 is almost word for word with 2 Chronicles 18.)
Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to call a prophet of God to see what God said concerning the coming battle. Ahab called together 400 men. Who were these false prophets? I like Pulpit Commentary's explanation here these were probably 400 priests who replaced the true priesthood at at Bethel and Dan when Israel split from Judah under Jeroboam's heresy: "You can worship God just as well here in this manner as you can there, as God Requires."
All 400 of these false preachers say, "So it. God is with you. You will prosper."
V. 7. Jehoshaphat did not trust all of these people. (I don't know why he was willing to go to war over Israel's cause, if he knew or had enough doubt about the war that he would not trust these 400 men. "If in doubt, throw it out" is good advise.)
V. 8. Ahab says there is one other prophet, but he hates him, for he always speaks badly of him.
A lesson: It does not matter if the whole world lines up on one side and says, Do it! If the word of God says NO, then NO it must be. These 400 were not prophets of Baal, nor prophets of the groves. Rather, they were Fundamental' prophets who just did not happen to see the need to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
The majority has never been on God's side. God has always been the minority. "Every one else is doing it this way" is no reason for anything. What does Micaiah, the word of the Lord say?
Micaiah - who is like Jehovah? (Not an unusual name in the Old Testament. It is used at lease three times.)
Can you imagine 400 men carrying on like a bunch of mad men here before the kings on their two thrones? I can see their indignation when one of the kings doubts their testimony. Zedekiah (Justice of Jehovah) seems to be the leader in leading the opposition to Micaiah. Here Zedekiah carried the right name, but was as wrong as sin. Just because a man calls himself a man of God, preacher, sure does not make him one. How does he line up with God's word? Zedekiah did not.
Micaiah, v. 26, seems to have been in prison for not speaking, preaching, according to the smooth words the king wanted.
The man who brings Micaiah warns Micaiah to speak what the king wants to hear. Micaiah says he will only speak what the Lord requires of him.
V. 15, Ahab questions him according to what he had already made up his mind to do. Ahab wanted to be deceived. Micaiah gives him the answer he wanted but in such a way as the king knew he was being mocked.
Ahab got the answer he wanted, but still was not happy.
How many people, even good people, hunt around for churches and preachers who will tell falsehoods, lies, in convincing ways. Ahab here wanted God's man to tell the lie with as much force as the truth. The 400 false preachers were very sincere and convincing.
Even when they get the truth, like Ahab, they act as though the truth were a lie, and proceed to do what their mind was made up to do in the first place.
I knew a young lady who fit Ahab's description. She knew where I stood, and for what I stood. She knew how I felt about certain matters, But rather than believe her pastor and prosper, she went looking for a pastor who she could feel as ease under, and still do what she wanted to do.
How, she is responsible for her own actions, but the fault was with her parents. They never really took a stand with her. In fact, her parents had said, "We don't see things the way you preach", but hey stayed anyway in the church. What kind of price will the young lady pay or is paying?
Micaiah's mockery was so open that Ahab says, "Tell me the truth", even though he did not want the truth. He was going to war anyway. And we know Christians just like Ahab. They say with their mouths, "I want the truth", but they only want it if the "truth" will permit them to continue on the way they want to go. They know the false prophets are wrong, but they like being told, "Go thou and prosper."
V. 17. Micaiah tells the truth. Ahab did not want to hear the truth, and dismisses the truth as just a personal attack upon him. "Micaiah does not line me, so he is just saying that to spoil my plans." (V. 18.)
V. 19. Very seldom are we allowed a view into the throne room of the secret counsels of God. I can think of only two: Job chapters 1-3, and here, 1 Kings 22. There are other instances where we see the spiritual movements of God, e.g., Isaiah 6, but Job and Kings are the only two where we are shown the secret counsel of God at work. Seeing these two instances makes me glad we are not shown more. These two raise more questions than answers, for both show that God is in control of even the evil that comes to pass upon this earth.
Micaiah saw the Lord sitting on his throne, as Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on his throne. When we see the Lord God Almighty sitting on his throne, the prison house of the ungodly earthly king won't look bad at all. The main problem is that most preachers have not seen the Lord at all, particularly on his throne. Or they have seen him only on the cross. As we saw above, seeing the holiness of God will cause us to stand for him even when confronting Ahab.
V. 20, without a strong faith in the total sovereignty of God over all creation, this would a hard statement. God had ordained that Ahab fall at Ramothgilead. Now he requires someone' to carry out his plans. Is Ahab an exception, or is the secret counsel of God active in every situation?
God sends false prophets, teachers, to tell people what they want to hear.
Vv. 20-23. Did the thrice Holy God put a lying spirit in Ahab's prophets mouth?
There are several ways to look at this event:
1. Remember Job. At God's prompting, Satan asked permission to destroy Job. It was granted, except his life.
2. Ezekiel 14:
4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; 5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. 6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
Here the Lord answers his people according to what is in their hearts. In other words, he gives them what they want, so that he may justly judge them according to their sin.
Ahab was determined to go to war, and God provided the false prophets to assure him of victory, so he would go.
Ahab chose lies over truth, so much so that he threw Micaiah in prison for telling the truth. Ahab was determined to follow what he wanted to do, so God sent prophets to say what he wanted to hear.
3. God is God. All we have here is simply a record of what happened before his throne. We can neither explain nor understand God. God does not ask us to approve his actions. He does as he wills throughout history, and no one can say, What doest thou?
If this passage seems to us inconsistent with his Holy character,
it is only because:
a. we cannot understand it properly.
b. we do not have all the facts.
Obviously, chapter 22 is an accurate account of what took place, as far as God wanted us to know. Any inconsistancy on our part is due to a lack of understanding on our part. Or a lack of all the facts. Again, God has given us enough to show us that we will reap what we sow.
Ahab lied about Naboth for personal gain. (21:10, 19.)
Ahab is now destroyed by lies.
Ahab put the reaping in motion, and now he gets a full crop, as God permits the results to come to pass.
Ahab used lies to kill a man, and now lies are used to kill him.
No one can accuse God of being unjust because he allows Ahab to reap what he has sown. Ahab is the one who used lies for his personal gain. Thus, any fault at any door must be at Ahab's, not God's.
21:20-22, Ahab had been warned by God.
21:29, the warning took hold'.
22:1-4, Ahab forgot the warning.
22:20-23, God permits him to pursue his own way, and now reap the crop he planted.
Vv. 24, 25, compare with 22:11, 12.
Zedekiah had a reputation to uphold. Here he had exalted himself as the chief of the 400 false prophets, and Micaiah just called him a liar. Of course, this would have to bring a violent reaction if he was to keep his office.
Neither king got upset at Zedekiah for striking Micaiah. (See my notes on vv. 9-12.)
As Zedekiah strikes Micaiah in the face, he chalanges him or ridicules him as a prophet. Micaiah does not even answer other than "When the time comes, we will know who is right you or me." Micaiah does not defend himself.
Ahab sends Micaiah back to prison to be held until Ahab returns in victory. Is Ahab here holding God's prophet hostage with "OK Lord. You give me the victory in this battle, let me return in peace, and I will turn your prophet lose"?
Trying to make a deal with God is very common with man: See Psalms 66:13-20 David said, I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. If a man after God's own heart would try to make a deal with the Lord, how much more wicked Ahab?
A common practice among worshipers of false gods was, "If you don't protect me, I will destroy you." The original insurance deals were carried out at the pagan temples. They went to the temple of whatever god covered that area of concern, e.g., shipping. They offered an offering to this god seeking his or her protection for the voyage. If the god failed them, the next time, they would seek the protection from another until they found one that would be the best protector.
If they returned prosperous, they would bring back some of the profits from the venture to the god male or female slaves as prostitutes from battle or money from the trading venture. If they failed in the venture, they might even come back and wreck the temple of that god.
I am sure this manner of worship was part of Ahab's thinking, as he tries to hold Micaiah hostage with the Lord.
How often do Christians do the same thing. They try to play "let's make a deal" with the Lord God almighty. We too often serve the god of Ahab and Jezebel, rather than the Lord God of Micaiah.
I'll serve you Lord. I'll let you be my God if you will work this out the way I think it should be even if it is contrary to your word. And if it does not work out Lord, I will hold you and your man responsible.
Notice that Micaiah clearly told Ahab it would not work, but Ahab is still going to hold Micaiah responsible.
We warn our people that what they are trying will not work, but they do it anyway contrary to God's word. Then when it does not work out, they try to blame God for not letting it work out. Are they not trying to convince the Lord to be on their side, even though they are contrary to his word?
The worse thing, though, is Jehoshaphat: he would not believe Ahab's false prophets, so he requested the truth, Macaiah. Micaiah told the truth, which did not have any effect on Jehoshaphat he went anyway. Why? His son married Ahab's daughter. Ungodly alliance will get us into trouble every time.
God is not going to be held hostage. The Lord God Almighty will answer to no man, especially to wicked Ahab. Many times in his mercy, though, he will answer pleas of Psalms 66:13-26.
Micaiah says, "Ahab, if you will return with any kind of victory at all, then you will know who is the false prophet: Zedekiah or myself. Then I will deserve the prison."
Vv. 29, 30.
They go to battle. Ahab convinces Jehoshaphat to ware his royal robes into battle, while Ahab disquised himself. Was he hoping for Jehoshaphat's death so Ahab's son-in-law could be king of Judah?
Was Ahab here turning over the command of the united army to Jehoshaphat out of fear or precaution over Micaiah's prophecy? Was Ahab hiding from God behind Jehoshaphat? Or maybe taking precautions in case his hostage plan did not work?
Was Ahab depending on Jehoshaphat's relationship with the Lord to spare him? It almost worked if he was, because the Syrians went after the one in the royal robes, and could not find Ahab. Why did Ahab take all of the precautions if he did not believe Micaiah?
V. 31. The king of Syria is after only one person, Ahab. Why such a hatred for Ahab?
1. Because of the humilating defeat he had suffered at Ahab's
2. God commanded the king of Syria to kill Ahab. If God sent the deceiving spirit ot convince Ahab, then he do doubt sent the spirit to urge Syria to war also. V. 20.
Vv. 32, 33. Ahab's plan almost worked. Syria pursued the royal robe instead of Ahab. Jehoshaphat cries out. Did he cry out to the Lord, or did he cry out of fear? All we know here is that he cried out, and was spared. From what we saw in v. 20, God is the one who dirrected the battle, as a mn with a chess board. God spared Jehoshaphat in his mercy. Jehoshaphat was deffently in a presumpous sin here. (2 Chronicles 18:31.)
V. 34. Drew a bow at a venture, and smote Ahab. Ahab used every human means to avoid this event, but he could not. God's purpose will be accomplished even at a venture. The bow to the man was at a venture, but God held the man's hands.
The principles of God's word will come to pass just like he says they will, no matter how many precautions we may take. A man or nation will not avoid God's promised results.
Vv. 35, 36.
Ahab was sorely wounded, but could not leave the battle; it was too hot and heavy. Jehoshaphat had had enough, and after v. 33, he got out of the battle. V. 36, the word went out to Israel's army to go home.
Did the king have to stay in the battle even though wounded because Jehoshapht left?
Vv. 37-40. It came to pass just as God said it would. We can try as hard as we might, but God's word is true. (21:19.)
V. 41ff. God records the good reign of Jehoshaphat. Over in 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, we have the record of Jehoshaphat joining with Ahab's son, Ahaziah, in building ships to bring back gold.
V. 44, he made peace for a profit.
1. An alliance with ungodly Ahab for mutual protection against
2. An alliance with ungodly Ahaziah, Ahab's son, for mutual profit, gold.
2 Chronicles 18:1-19:2, wrath from before the Lord. The lying spirit came to Ahab from before the Lord. Could this be a spirit of wrath from before the Lord against Jehoshaphat.
2 Chronicles 20:35, the Lord hath broken thy works. Christians by the score join with the ungodly for mutual protection and profit, and wonder why things do not go as they wanted them to go. Many professing Christians are not saved, though the claim to be.
Of note here: the inner-marriage. Ahab's son reigned after Ahab. Jehoshaphat's son reigned after him, making the two kings, Israel and Judah, brothers-in-law, and later when Alhaliah tookover the throne of Judah, you have brother and sister reigning. Brother in Israel, and sister in Judah, both the children of Ahab and Jezeble.
V. 43, the high places were a continual problem for Judah. They were unauthorized places of sacrifices, yet the sacrifices were supposed to be to the Lord God.