The decisions we make, be it big ones of what to do with our lives, who to spend the rest of our lives with, or little daily ones of how we invest our time have an impact on us. As followers of Christ, making decisions God’s way should be our objective. But when our desires and need to control situations come into play, it can be challenging because it may not necessarily be what we want to hear or do at the time.
In 1 Kings 22 we read about King Ahab, the king of Israel who wanted to fight against King Aram and take back Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat was King of Judah then. To get some background on them, in 1 King 16:30 we read “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.” He set up altars for Baal and Asherah and provoked the Lord to anger with all he did (1 Kings 16:32-33). Whereas Jehoshaphat did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 22:43). Jehoshaphat was also related to Ahab through the marriage of his son Jehoram to Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.
Ahab asks Jehoshaphat “Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat says that all that is his, is also Ahab’s but he tells Ahab to inquire of the Lord. “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
Ahab summons four hundred prophets and asks them “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead or Shall I refrain?
Let’s just take a moment and take note here that although Jehoshaphat says they should inquire of the Lord, the prophets that Ahab summons seem to be those that are associated with the pagan worship of Baal and Asherah. In 1kings 18:19, we read “And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah.” These prophets seem more inclined to proclaim messages designed to please the king, for they unanimously said that Ahab will have victory, but if we read on we learn that this was not the case.
Jehoshaphat recognises that their word was not be trusted or relied upon as from God and he asks King Ahab “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?” (verse 7). In response King Ahab says “There is still one man through whom I can inquire of the Lord but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
Notice Ahab’s strong sentiments towards the prophet, and his assessment of whether to listen to prophet Micaiah was dependent upon whether his message was favourable to him or not.
For us: It is easy to surround ourselves with people or information that feeds into our likes and wishes and does not challenge us in any way. But by doing so, we limit our opportunities to grow in our understanding and knowledge of who God is shaping and refining us to be. For it tends not to leave room for instruction, discipline or correction that comes from God through various means.
When prophet Micaiah speaks to Ahab, he chooses to be obedient to God rather than please Ahab. His allegiance was to the true King. He did not alter or water down the message from God so as to sound more palatable to Ahab.
For us: A necessary reminder for us that when we hear messages or read faith related work, an abundance of which is so easily accessible to us these days, it is important to know that the gospel preached in its entirety is what we should be listening for. We can tend to lean into material that does not convict or challenge us to change our ways because it is comfortable. But may we spend time in the word ourselves to better understand, and also be able to test and see if that which we read and hear is from God (1 John 4:1-2).
Prophet Micaiah in verses 19-20 describes that “He saw the Lord sitting on His throne with all the hosts of heaven standing around him on his right and left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there? ”And Micaiah goes on to declare what God intended to do “The Lord has decreed disaster for you (Ahab).”
Earlier in verse 10 we read “Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them.”
We see Ahab sitting in his earthly splendour on their thrones planning a conquest. But Micaiah’s description of the scene from heaven puts the earthly royal splendor in its right perspective. It gives us a glimpse of where the true power really lies.
It begins and rests with God.
An illusion of power is all what Ahab had; he was in that position as King because God deemed it to be so, but he failed to recognise that.
We go on to read that even after the warning that prophet Micaiah gives, Ahab does not heed those words and thinks that he can trick his way into not letting Micaiah’s words come true. He seems to be forgetting that the prophet is not vocalising words from his own imaginations but directly from God.
It gives us an insight to what Ahab thought about God. There is a sense that his perception was coloured by those of the pagan gods he used to worship and he probably did feel more powerful than them and thereby it translated into thinking that he could outsmart God.
Ahab still thinking that he was the one in control decides to go to battle in disguise, assuming that he could direct attention away from him and minimise the chance of the fulfilment of Micaiah’s prediction. Except that was not the case, he was killed at Ramoth Gilead.
For us: This is a powerful reminder for us that God’s authority extends over every single thing. We might feel helpless with who sits in positions of power over us be it either in the government, or in our workplace or in any other scenario but it is ultimately God who moves people and places for His divine and sovereign will and purpose to be accomplished. And let us take assurance from His word in Romans 8:28 that says “And we know that all things work out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
May we seek God every day and make decisions His way, acknowledging that God is our King and He is in control. So, we prayerfully submit anything that is on our hearts to Him and know that He hears us. May we be bold and obedient like Micaiah to never refrain from speaking God’s truth. And like Ahab, let us not shut ourselves from listening to God’s words of instruction, discipline and correction even if it glaringly shows us that there is sin in our lives, but heed His voice allowing ourselves to be molded and shaped by Him.