Daily Devotional

August 19, 2019

Daybreak: 1 Kings 22:1-53

“And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?” (1 Kings 22:16)

Walking back to my room from college classes one day years ago, the song that popped into my heart at the sight of the beautiful sunshine was “Heavenly Sunlight.” For a few seconds I let the song linger, enjoying the melody; but then the words sank in and I remembered that this was a song from my years of church attendance. As a stubborn unbeliever, I did not yet have “glory divine” flooding my soul, and I did not choose to believe any of the words of the song. 

The basis of the problem was this: if I did not want to accept the bottom line that each individual will end up in one of two places, Heaven or Hell, I could not accept the rest of Christianity. However, if Christianity was really the truth, I knew exactly which destination I was headed for. I quickly pushed the song out of my mind, behaving like an ostrich with its head in the sand, as if my lack of belief would exempt me from a lost eternity. 

Though I had been carefully taught about God and how to live, for many years a rebellious streak kept me from turning my life over to God’s control. I thought a Christian’s lifestyle was too restricted. My life was not really wild because, although I wanted control of every aspect of my life, I was not comfortable with worldly lifestyles. However, God in His faithfulness continued to call after me — this time through a song — in spite of my personal ideas.

I guess it did not occur to me that no matter what I thought, God requires submission to Christ and forgiveness through His Blood. Refusing His gift brings eternal punishment. Even though I was choosing to deny the existence of God, His Word is supreme; regardless of my insignificant thoughts, God’s truth is immutable, and His requirements are absolute.

Similarly, Ahab sought to disregard the truth and hear only pleasant words from his prophets. In his desire to acquire Ramoth-gilead, he did not welcome the prophecies of Micaiah, “For he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” No matter what he chose to believe, God would determine the outcome of the battle. 

We should not ask God to bless our plans. Rather, we ought to tell God that we are willing and available to be used in His plans.

Background

This is an account of Ahab’s last stand. A portion of land that should have belonged to Israel was in the hands of Syria. Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, asked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to join with him in claiming the land. Perhaps the reason King Jehoshaphat agreed to this plan was that his son had married Ahab’s daughter. Jehoshaphat’s words, “I am as thou art,” were tragic considering the wickedness of Ahab. 

Ahab and Jehoshaphat inquired as to whether they should go to battle, and four hundred prophets prophesied what Ahab wanted to hear. Some Bible commentators believe these may have been Jezebel’s prophets for Asherah (see “Pagan Gods” supplement) who had not come to the confrontation with Elijah on Mount Carmel, and therefore had escaped death. Only the prophet Micaiah dared to challenge the king and speak the words of the Lord, underscoring the fact that, usually, it is a minority who will truly follow God. Ahab did not like the message, and had the prophet locked up in prison for delivering it.

God had given Ahab fair warning that his days were numbered, and Ahab understood that prophecy. However, he chose to turn his back on the truth and follow the advice of his four hundred prophets. It did not matter how, or even whether, Ahab disguised himself. It was God’s ordained time for him to die, and although he was in disguise, an arrow “at a venture” (at random) found its mark through a gap in Ahab’s armor — a clear indication that God designs even the minute details of every life. 

Amazingly, Jehoshaphat also ignored Micaiah’s warning. Had not God been in control, Jehoshaphat could have easily lost his life. 

At the beginning of 1 Kings, David ruled the strong and united nation of Israel. David’s devotion to God was the benchmark for other kings. By the end of 1 Kings, the nation was divided, and Ahab, Israel’s most wicked king, had died. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel
      K.   The reign of Ahab of Israel
            5.   Ahab and Jehoshaphat’s confederacy against Ramoth-gilead (22:1-40)
                  a.   Ahab’s desire to capture Ramoth-gilead (22:1-4)
                  b.   Jehoshaphat’s search for divine approval (22:5-28)
                        (1)   The word of the false prophets (22:5-12)
                        (2)   The word of Micaiah (22:13-28)
                               (a)   His negative report (22:13-23)
                               (b)   His imprisonment (22:24-28)
                  c.   Ahab’s defeat at Ramoth-gilead (22:29-36)
                  d.   Ahab’s death (22:37-40)
      L.   The reign of Jehoshaphat (22:41-50)
      M.   The reign of Ahaziah of Israel (22:51-53)

A Closer Look

  1. How did King Ahab try to circumvent Micaiah’s prophecy?
     
  2. What dangers did Jehoshaphat face for his poor choice in joining Ahab?
     
  3. In your life, how can you be sure that you are following the truth?

Conclusion

God’s Word is sovereign. When He decrees, there is no debate: one ballot, no recount. 

Reference Materials