Reflections on 2 Chronicles; Chapters 18 & 19
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah walked in the way of his father King David by not seeking the Baalim (pagan gods), but unto the God of his fathers. He walked in all the commandments of Yahweh. Thus, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All of Judah, some Philistines and Arabians, gave him much wealth and flocks. The king built castles and cities of store.
At the start of Chapter 18, King Jehoshaphat makes one terrible mistake in judgment when he “joins affinity” with wicked Ahab, king of Israel. To “join affinity” (H2859 châthan), means there was a marriage which joined their two nations. This is why he said in verse 3, “I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.
A Seer named Micaiah, the son of Imla, was asked to prophesy to the king whether the king should go up to Ramoth-gilead or not. At first Micaiah prophesied what the king wanted to hear, being pressured by the king’s messenger to agree with Ahab’s prophets – “Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good” (Vs 12)
“prophet” – Strong’s H5030 nâbîy From H5012; a prophet or (generally) inspired man: – prophecy, that prophesy, prophet. [Brown-Driver-Briggs] – spokesman, speaker, prophet, false prophet, heathen prophet
Micaiah’s answer was that he would speak what God said, Vs.12. However, that’s not what happened! Micaiah didn’t speak what God showed him, but prophesied falsely to king Ahab (Vs 14) – “Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. “
But king Ahab knew in his heart that it wasn’t the true word of the Lord, so he demanded the truth from the seer. (see Vs 15 below)
“seer” – [Strong’s] H237 chôzeh; Active participle of H2372; a beholder in vision; H2372 châzâh; A primitive root; to gaze at; mentally to perceive, contemplate (with pleasure); specifically to have a vision of: – behold, look, prophesy, provide, see.
Why did Micaiah lie? I think it’s possible the messenger pressured Micaiah to lie because he didn’t want Micaiah to be imprisoned for speaking the truth, and maybe it had happened to him before? It’s also possible that Micaiah knew he would be imprisoned if he spoke the truth, since that was a common occurence in those times. King Asa had a Seer imprisoned for that reason in 2 Chron 16:10. Did the probability make it right for Micaiah to prophesy falsely? What would any of us do if we found ourselves in a similar situation? Is or isn’t it OK to lie in certain situations, say if it meant saving our own or someone else’s life? Did Micaiah’s false prophesying make him a false prophet? He didn’t do it just once, but many times, in Vs 15 king Ahab asks Micaiah, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?”
I think Micaiah was between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place.’ He knew that if he told the truth he’d be in trouble, but if he lied by prophesying ‘good’ to the king, he would in effect be contradicting what the king said about him, “Did I not tell thee that he (Micaiah) would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?” (Vs 15) Many who have dared to contradict rich and powerful men have suffered imprisonment, and worse.
Micaiah in effect, was in a ‘no win’ situation, for whether he prophesied what Ahab wanted to hear, or what the Lord spoke, he would find disfavor with Ahab. Maybe Micaiah prophesied falsely to Ahab knowing he could possibly wind up in prison if he spoke the truth, or maybe he was following God’s example of telling the wicked what they want to hear? Doesn’t the Lord sometimes allow people to be deceived by telling them what they want to hear?
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Isa 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. [KJV]
God not only allows, but “chooses” and “sends” delusions upon those who don’t listen to Him; because they don’t “love the truth!” God knew that wicked king Ahab didn’t love the truth and wouldn’t pay heed to it if he heard it, so he allowed all the king’s prophets to “lie” to him, including Micaiah. Micaiah did in fact end up telling the truth (Vss.16,18,19). If his motive was merely avoiding imprisonment, I think he would have continued lying to the king. Might Micaiah have been following God’s plan by telling wicked Ahab what he wanted to hear, knowing that he wouldn’t pay heed to the truth?
Vs. 16 – At the king’s insistence, Micaiah spoke what the Lord had actually shown him in a vision, which was that the soldiers would be scattered upon the mountains like sheep without a shepherd, that they should return to their own houses in peace (in other words, not fight). Micaiah also said he heard the Lord ask, “Who shall entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth?” (God knew the outcome of the battle and king Ahab’s fate beforehand). Then a spirit said that he would go and put a lying spirit in the mouth of the king’s prophets. So the Lord gave him permission to go and do it; thus, a lying spirit was put into all the prophet’s mouths. All the king’s prophets save one, LIED to the kings, telling them they would be successful in battle (Vss 5,11, 21, 22). It’s amazing that 400 prophets could all be DECIEVED at the same time, in the same place! God allowed a “lying spirit” to deceive the kings because they didn’t seek Him about the matter. The consequences of seeking guidance from someone other than God, can be disastrous or even fatal! We should never rely solely upon the words of prophets or man’s reasoning – Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.
Vs. 23 – When Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, heard Micaiah’s true prophecy he “smote” Micaiah upon his cheek demanding sarcastically how the spirit of prophecy went from him to Micaiah. I love Micaiah’s answer, “You shall find out the day you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself!” Who it is that Zedekiah will ‘hide himself’ from isn’t stated, but I have a hunch it will be from the wrath of the Lord on Judgment Day, when all the wicked will try to hide themselves – Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. Rev 6:16 and they say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Vs. 25 – The wicked king of Israel has Micaiah taken to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash, the king’s son, to have him thrown into prison and fed with the “bread of affliction, and water of affliction,” until Ahab returns in peace (from battle).
Vs. 27 – Micaiah said that if Ahab returned in peace, then the Lord didn’t speak through him! The Lord had shown him in a vision that Ahab would “fall” in battle – Vs. 19.
Vs. 28 – 32 The kings of Israel and Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead despite Micaiah’s warning of dire consequences and loss if they did. Ahab tried to hide his IDENTITY from the Syrian army with some type of disguise, but instructed Jehoshaphat to “wear his royal robes” into battle! Ahab figured that when the Syrian army saw Jehoshaphat’s “royal robes” they would automatically assume that he was himself, and that’s exactly what happened. As Syrian forces surrounded Jehoshaphat (thinking that he was Ahab), he cried out to the Lord who delivered him by supernaturally causing the soldiers to “depart” from him. When the captains saw that he wasn’t Ahab, they left him alone for they were out to kill Ahab. Ahab’s “disguise” postponed the inevitable, and fooled the Syrian Army, but he could not hide from Jehovah!
Vs. 33 – A stray arrow slipped through the joints of Ahab’s armour and wounded him fatally (not an accident, it was the Lord who directed the arrow which slew him). Ahab didn’t die right away but “stayed” himself up in his chariot until sundown, then died.
Jehoshaphat almost lost his life in this battle because he didn’t consult with the Lord about going to war, but relied upon his own understanding instead. When we haven’t sought the mind and will of God on a matter, we may not have His provision either, which makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Ahab attempted to save his life by concealing his identity, but he didn’t escape his appointed fate. If we try to conceal our identity in Christ, we risk loosing something far more valuable than temporal, physical life – Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. May we seek God’s provision and protection, and not devise our own COVERING!
Vs. 1 – Upon Jehoshaphat’s return from battle, he was met by the Seer Jehu, son of Hanani. Jehu rebuked the king for aiding the “ungodly” and loving them that hate the Lord (vs 2), saying that God’s wrath (anger) was therefore upon Jehoshaphat.
Aiding the ‘ungodly’ and loving God’s enemies angers Jehovah! Jehoshaphat was OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD when he joined wicked king Ahab and went to war without God’s input or approval. God didn’t sanction either king going against Syria. When we get ‘out of the will of God’ we could suffer loss or even death, as did king Ahab (vs. 33-34).
Does the fact that 400 prophets were afflicted with a “lying spirit” (causing them to lie), make them FALSE PROPHETS? Is it possible for true prophets to receive a “lying spirit” and speak lying prophecies as a result, and retain their status as God’s true prophets?
While it’s good to listen to prophets, their words cannot be a substitute for hearing the voice of God in our own hearts!!! God wants to commune with us, and therefore we need to be able to hear His voice for ourselves. When God sees that His sheep aren’t seeking Him but using prophetic utterance as a substitute for hearing His Voice, He may allow them to get deceived in order to teach them to seek Him FIRST. He isn’t against our seeking a word of knowledge or wisdom from a prophet, but since prophets can be deceived, we can’t rely soley upon their words.
Vs. 3 – The Seer continues, saying that Jehoshaphat had also done “good” things by taking away the pagan groves (places of worship) out of the land, and preparing his heart to “seek God.”
“prepared” – H3559 kûn; to set up, establish, fix, make ready, to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast, be settled, be stable, be secure, be enduring
“seek” – H1875 dârash; diligently inquire, make inquisition, question, require, search, consult,
Upon realizing that doing things his way led him into dire straits, Jehoshaphat settles it in his heart to seek God instead of relying upon his own or someone else’s understanding. His close brush with death caused him to see his true spiritual state, of which he repented (changed his mind and heartily amended with abhorrence his past sins) and from then on followed God with a perfect heart.
“perfect” – H8003 shâlêm; complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace
Some examples of what it means to have a ‘perfect heart’; 1Ki_11:4, 1Ki_15:3, 1Ki_15:14; Gen_17:1; Deu_18:13; 2Ki_20:3; 1Ch_28:9; Job_1:1, Job_1:8; Psa_37:37; 2Co_7:1; Phi_3:12-16
In conclusion, when we realize we haven’t been seeking God or following Him wholeheartedly, we can repent, receive His forgiveness, and settle it in our hearts to seek Him anew! The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. (Psa 145:8) Amen!
Debra R. Stout © September 13, 2015