Macaiah Warns Ahab

When a person tries to justify his wrong behavior by pointing to the conduct of others, he isn’t aiming high enough. This is also true if he patterns himself after someone who gives the Lord only partial obedience. A college student learned this lesson when he was reprima … More

Compromise

There had been three years without any war between Israel and Syria (v. 1). Ahab decided to regain Israel’s lost territory of Ramoth-gilead, 28 miles east of the Jordan River and l5 miles south of the Sea of Galilee (vv. 2-3). In order to have an army large enough to defeat the Arameans Ahab asked Jehosaphat, the king of Judah, to join him (vv. 4-5). Jehosaphat agreed to compromise for political reasons even though he should not have done so for spiritual reasons, he was a godly king, faithful to the Lord.

However, Jehosaphat wanted divine counsel from the Lord before they went to war. Ahab didn’t seem to be concerned about God’s approval but in order to satisfy Jehosaphat he called in 400 prophets (v. 6). These were evidently apostate prophets of the Lord. They were not concerned about relating the true Word of the Lord but wanted to give their king the kind of advice they thought he wanted to hear which is what often happens when we agree to compromise (vv. 7-13). They all agreed that he should go to battle for Ramoth-gilead and that the Lord would give him great success. 

Jehosaphat was not convinced and so he requested a true prophet of the Lord (v. 7). Against Ahab’s wishes  Micaiah was asked for his counsel. He did not speak of military success but predicted the death of Ahab and the scattering of Israel’s army (vv. 14-23). Because of this prediction Micaiah was imprisoned and Ahab and Jehosaphat went off to battle (vv. 24-29). But Micaiah said, “If you ever return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Take heed, all you people!”

Application

Although Ahab compromised temporarily he still maintained the system of false prophets and these prophets eventually led him to his own ruin. If I am tempted to compromise I need to remove myself from the thing that has caused me to waver and avoid even the appearance of evil (l Thess. 5:22).

I Kings 22:1-29 (English Standard Version)

For three years Syria and Israel continued without war. But in the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, "Do you know that Ramoth- gilead belongs to us, and we keep quiet and do not take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?" And he said to Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses." And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Inquire first for the word of the LORD." Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?" And they said, "Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king." But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?" And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil." And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say so." Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, "Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah." Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, "Thus says the LORD, 'With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.'" And all the prophets prophesied so and said, "Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king." And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, "Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably." But Micaiah said, "As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak." And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?" And he answered him, "Go up and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king." But the king said to him, "How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?" And he said, "I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, 'These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.'" And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?" And Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, 'I will entice him.' And the LORD said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.' Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you." Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, "How did the Spirit of the LORD go from me to speak to you?" And Micaiah said, "Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself." And the king of Israel said, "Seize Micaiah, and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king's son, and say, 'Thus says the king, "Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water, until I come in peace."'" And Micaiah said, "If you return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me." And he said, "Hear, all you peoples!" So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.

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