SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In previous chapters we have seen that the kingdom of the people who were once united as God's people is now divided into two nations, Israel and Judah. We also saw war between a country called Aram and Israel. At the beginning of this chapter it's been 3 years since that war.
- Jehoshaphat (kind of Judah) and Ahab (king of Israel) have apparently developed a friendship.
- Ahab decides he wants to recapture a city, Ramoth Gilead, that had been a part of Israel but control of which had been taken by Aram (verse 1-3). He gets Jehoshaphat to agree to help him (verse 4) but Jehoshaphat wants to know God approves (verse 5).
- In the previous chapter we saw Ahab repent and turn to God, but apparently that was only temporary. Here he calls in 400 prophets, but they are prophets of another religion, not of God. They say that Ahab will be victorious in battle (verses 6-7).
- There is a prophet of God, Micaiah, but Ahab doesn't like him because he doesn't say what Ahab wants to hear (verse 8).
- Micaiah is brought in and he begins, in verse 15, by sarcastically repeating what the other prophets have said (verse 15). Ahab recognizes the sarcasm, and then Micaiah gives him (using a parable) the true word from God, that Ahab should not go into battle and, if he does, that he will be killed (verses 17-25). Ahab doesn't listen and, instead, imprisons Micaiah (verses 26-27).
- Knowing the opposing army would be looking to kill the king, Ahab cowardly disguises himself in battles Jehoshaphat will become the target, but it doesn't change what God said would happen as Ahab dies in battle (verses 29-40).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Ahab really didn't care what God said. He wanted to do what he wanted to do and he was going to do it. Instead of seeking truth and godly wisdom, he sought people who would tell him what he wanted to hear. The Bible tells us that this isn't just an issue for Ahab, but for people in general. For instance, in 2 Timothy 4:3, "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear."
- Ahab felt like he could disobey God but disguise himself to avoid the consequences of his decision. The truth is, as Ahab learned, there is no escaping the consequences of our ungodly choices.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you seek God's wisdom before making a decision? Or do you decide what you want to do, and then seek out people who will agree with and justify your decision?
- Can you think of times when you were going to do something, but when confronted with the advice of others or truth from God's Word had to change your mind? (If not, that may be an indication of a problem.)
- Who do you go to for godly wisdom, even if they often don't say what you want them to say?
- When you listen to a sermon, are you mostly listening for things you agree with and which will support your thinking, or do you welcome ideas that challenge how you currently think?