1 Kings 22:1-53
We read in 1 Kings 22:44 that Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, made peace with Ahab the king of Israel. Jehoshophat was a good king, but Ahab was an evil king. This was not a wise alliance. As I read the story I want to give Jehoshaphat the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was trying to win Ahab back to the LORD, knowing the history of Israel. Maybe he was seeking unity in the “family.” He may have had a “good heart,” with good intentions, but it was not good…he lacked wisdom. There is a time to unite, and a time to divide.
As Ahab decides to go to war against Syria, he asks Jehoshaphat to join him. Jehoshaphat wholeheartedly agrees, emphasizing their unity (1 Kings 22:4) but he asks to hear from a prophet of the LORD (this is God’s covenant name). Is there any left as counselor to the king in Israel? Notice Ahab’s response:
1 Kings 22:8 (NKJV) “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’”
The false prophets were predicting victory, words that Ahab wanted to hear. When Micaiah was compelled to speak the truth, he predicted Ahab’s death:
1 Kings 22:17 (NKJV) “Then 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 house in peace.’’”
The king and false prophet mocked him, and even beat Micaiah, but he was telling the truth. It was all part of God’s plan, in allowing lying spirits to be used in the judgment of Ahab. Some might wonder how God could allow demons to do their work, but keep in mind, the truth was also told, a revelation of heaven itself given to Ahab, but he chose NOT to listen to the LORD.
Isn’t it interesting the way God made it clear that it wasn’t Syria who killed Ahab (although that was their intention – to get the king) it was God who judged Ahab. A “random” arrow struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor (1 Kings 22:34) even through he disguised himself. The dogs licked up his blood, just as the LORD had spoken in 1 Kings 21:19.
Although Jehoshaphat lacked wisdom in his alliance with Ahab, he was a good king in Judah. We read about him in:
1 Kings 22:43a (NKJV) “And he walked in all the ways of his father Asa. He did not turn aside from them, doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD.”
Jehoshaphat may have learned from his mistake with Ahab and therefore did not align himself with Ahab’s son Ahaziah (see 1 Kings 22:49). Ahaziah was an evil king in Israel (1 Kings 22:52) who did evil in the sight of the LORD.
God is about to do a great work in Antioch of Pisidia, where we have Paul’s first sermon in the book of Acts! He gives a brief history of Israel, and then makes a beeline to Jesus.
We will see in the book of Acts that the practice of Paul the Apostle would be to attend Synagogue service and there share the Gospel. At the dispersion of the Jews, Synagogues were built all around the world. All that was required for a city to have a Synagogue would be 10 Jewish men. The Jews were anticipating the coming of the Messiah and they would spread the word to the Gentiles. The Gentiles who believed, would be referred to in the book of Acts as “God fearers,” or “You who fear God.” (notice the distinction in Acts 13:16)
God had prepared the world for the spreading of the Gospel – with the Jewish diaspora and Synagogues, the Greek language which became almost “universal,” and the Roman roads which allowed travel throughout the empire.
Paul knew his Jewish history. He knew they were anticipating the coming Messiah, the descendant of David. Everyone knew about the recent ministry of John the Baptist, and how he pointed to the One who would come after him. Paul simply had to explain that the cross and resurrection were all part of God’s plan for the Messiah, predicted in Scripture…and then the punchline.
Acts 13:38–39 (NKJV) “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
It was time for the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). The law had fulfilled its purpose in revealing the fact that we were sinners in need of a Savior. Faith in Jesus, the Lamb of God would bring forgiveness and justification in the sight of God.
Paul warned them not to despise (look down on, think little of) this glorious gospel (good news) (Acts 13:41).
This brief Psalm of David is packed with powerful truths to contemplate.
Do I praise God with my WHOLE HEART? (Psalm 138:1)
Do I praise Him for His love and truth?
Speaking of truth – do I realize that God has magnified His Word above His name? That speaks volumes! The Jews venerated the name of the LORD so much, that we don’t really know how to pronounce it because they were afraid to speak it, or even write it, and violate the third commandment which forbids us to take His name in vain. But here we read that God’s Word has been elevated above His name? Do I praise God for the Bible?
David shares how God answers prayer (Psalm 138:3) and David knows that one day every knee will bow, even the kings of the earth…to the King of kings.
Psalm 138:6 (NKJV) ”Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.”
Let’s humble ourselves. Let’s encourage ourselves in that God regards us, loves us, thinks of us, and is working out a wonderful plan for all of our lives. That’s what we read in v. 8
Psalm 138:8 (NKJV) “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
The Lord will finish what He’s started in all our lives. In His mercy He will not forsake us, the work of His hands…we know that and its just good to pray that, pray Bible.
V. 17 – Isn’t it wonderful to have a friend, a true friend – to be a friend – who will always love no matter what?
And then there’s this brother born for adversity. I believe these can be speaking of the same person, that a true brother is born, or born-again, to help you through the tough and trying times in life.
V. 18 – A warning against co-signing.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.