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But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the LORD still here, that we may ask him?” – 2 Chronicles 18:6
2 Chronicles 18:1-2
1 Jehoshaphat enjoyed great riches and high esteem, and he made an alliance with Ahab of Israel by having his son marry Ahab’s daughter.
2 A few years later he went to Samaria to visit Ahab, who prepared a great banquet for him and his officials. They butchered great numbers of sheep, goats, and cattle for the feast. Then Ahab enticed Jehoshaphat to join forces with him to recover Ramoth-gilead.
In the 21st century world of ultra-competitive advertising, companies seek competitive advantage for their products and services. A frequent strategy is to enter into a partnership with another brand.
Why partner? The answer is simple to achieve mutual benefit, putting it in other terms “synergistic momentum.” Both partners leverage each other’s expertise and resources to build something larger than the sum of its parts. When companies partner together, they provide one another with new customers and new markets.
This story takes place after the reign of Solomon when his kingdom was divided. The ten northern tribes are called Israel and the two southern tribes are called Judah.
Jehoshaphat king of Judah was a good man, but he had several lapses in judgment. His biggest mistake was trusting Ahab and allying with him. He did not think it through. But of greatest importance he did not seek the Father’s counsel. The alliance was an awful idea. Jehoshaphat almost paid for it with his life.
Ahab was a real piece of work. He was evil, plotting, conniving, and deceitful. He was a corrupting influence. He would literally stab you in the back. Take away: Be wary of bad amigos. Although the telling of the story is a bit long, the speaks for itself.
What did Ahab do? He invited Jehoshaphat to come to Samaria and hang out. Presumably, Ahab turned it into a grandiose affair full of pomp and circumstance. Picture Jehoshaphat and his royal entourage with security troops marching into Samaria. Trumpets blaring, large crowds cheering, the Royal Orchestra of Samaria strikes up the equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” It would have been epic.
Undoubtedly, it would have gone right to Jehoshaphat’s head. His yarmulke probably stretched 2 or 3 sizes as his head swelled. But Ahab was only getting started. He wined and dined Jehoshaphat. Ahab presumably flattered Jehoshaphat with complements and obsequious accolades. Jehoshaphat became completely caught up in the moment.
Ahab had planted the hook. At the right moment, he yanked the string. He enticed Jehoshaphat to join forces with him to attack a mutual enemy. Foolishly, Jehoshaphat agreed. He neglected to confer with his current partner, the Father.
2 Chronicles 18:2-3
2 Ahab enticed Jehoshaphat to join forces with him . . .
3 “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” King Ahab of Israel asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Jehoshaphat replied, “Why, of course! You and I are as one, and my troops are your troops. We will certainly join you in battle.”
The Hebrew term translated entice, induce, persuade is suth. Suth has an underlying idea of cunningness. It commonly has an evil connotation. This is the verb that was used when Satan enticed David to take a census (1 Chronicles 21:1).
REFLECT & PRAY
“Flirtation with those in apostasy is flirtation with catastrophe” (Thompson).
Father strengthen me not to compromise my integrity and beliefs. May I be bold, courageous, and stand tall for the Truth. Strengthen me not succumb to peer pressure or the influence of ungodly authorities. The Father’s Truth alone is Truth.
Perhaps Jehoshaphat was a bit loopy from the wine but was not completely impaired. Jehoshaphat had one condition. He wanted to know what the Father had to say about going to war. The decision to turn to the Lord for guidance was a bit late in coming.
2 Chronicles 18:4 Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the LORD says.”
Ahab was not on good terms with the Father’s true prophets. He disdained them because they always told the truth. So he summoned 400 of his own prophets, guys who he had in his pocket. He knew they would give him the answer that he wanted.
2 Chronicles 18:5 So the king of Israel [Ahab] summoned the prophets, 400 of them, and asked them, “Should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?” They all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! God will give the king victory.”
Although Jehoshaphat’s less than stellar judgment with the pinch of pride had got him into the present situation. Mercifully he was not totally hoodwinked by every outright lie and subterfuge. As they say, he may have been born at night, but he had not been born “last night.”
But thankfully for Jehoshaphat, false prophets would just not do. He insisted on hearing from a true prophet of the Lord. Knowing what the truth sounds like, spoils you. Hearing the truth provides a built-in guard against deception and lies.
Those who are used to handling the truth, the Word of God have “their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
2 Chronicles 18:6 Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the LORD here? We should ask him the same question.”
Ahab acquiesced but was not pleased. He hated Father’s prophets. He felt that they had it in for him. Whenever he consulted them, they always gave him bad news. Go figure!
2 Chronicles 18:7 The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the LORD for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah.”
Jehoshaphat was a bit appalled by Ahab’s response. Perhaps the dulling effect of the wine was wearing off. He replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say” (2 Chronicles 18:7).
Reluctantly, Ahab sent for Micaiah. But in the process, Ahab’s guy tried to put in the fix. He pressed Micaiah to give the same prediction as the false prophets. Micaiah would have nothing to do with it. That’s one of the things about the Father’s prophets, they tend to be harder than flint and do not back down from proclaiming the truth.
2 Chronicles 18:8, 12-13
8 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Quick! Bring Micaiah.”
13 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.”
13 But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what my God says.”
The Father calls His prophets, “my servants.” They only say what He tells them to say. They do not add, take away, or alter His words. The Father’s words are the plumbline by which everything is to be measured.
At this juncture, Micaiah was well aware of what was going on. Micaiah resorts to a bit of sanctified sarcasm.
2 Chronicles 18:14, 15
14 When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?” Micaiah replied sarcastically, “Yes, go up and be victorious, for you will have victory over them!”
15 But the king replied sharply, “How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth to me when you speak for the LORD?”
Well, Ahab was not stupid either, well not that stupid. And he knew that Micaiah was not saying what the Father had revealed to him. He cries a few crocodile tears. He then calls out Micaiah. So Micaiah comes clean and tells the rest of the story.
2 Chronicles 18:16 Then Micaiah told him, “In a vision, I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘Their master has been killed. Send them home in peace.’”
Micaiah clearly prophesied Ahab’s death. Bad news, just what Ahab anticipated.
Ahab was not amused. He had mixed emotions. Now that he heard the truth, He was frustrated but also somewhat fearful. But mainly, he was just angry. When he asked for the truth, it was simply another ploy. He had no interest in hearing from the Father. Ahab had Micaiah arrested and put on bread and water.
2 Chronicles 18:25-26
25 “Arrest him!” the king of Israel ordered.
26 Give them this order from the king “Put this man in prison and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!”
Ahab underscored his hatred of Micaiah by to Jehoshaphat.
2 Chronicles 18:17 “Didn’t I tell you?” the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. “He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.”
But Micaiah was not done.
2 Chronicles 18:27 Micaiah replied, “If you return safely, it will mean that the LORD has not spoken through me!” Then he added to those standing around, “Everyone mark my words!”
In the 20th century, “Mark my words” was modified into a new phrase and popularized by Clint Eastwood, A.K.A. Dirty Harry, “But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?”
Ahab was not feeling lucky. His unbelieving heart was blinded.
“If you play with fire, you get burned.”