Today we see a clear difference in the outcome of someone who is not trusting the Lord, Ahab the king of Israel, versus someone who is trusting in Him, Jehoshaphat the king of Judah.
After Ahab inquires of his false prophets who tell him what he wants to hear, he inquires of a prophet of the Lord, Micaiah, per the request of Jehoshaphat. Micaiah says that he saw Israel scattered on the mountains without a master. He tells Ahab that the Lord allowed a lying spirit to speak through the four hundred prophets saying that he would have victory over Syria because the Lord is bringing disaster against Ahab. Since Ahab is not interested in the truth but only in what someone says in his favor, Ahab has Micaiah thrown in prison. However, just in case Micaiah is correct, Ahab disguises himself when he goes into battle against Syria, but tells Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes. When the captains of the chariots see Jehoshaphat, they assume it is Ahab and go after him. However, Jehoshaphat calls out to the Lord trusting that He would save him, and He does. On the other hand, Ahab, who is trusting in his plan and not in the Lord, meets a different fate. A random (or not so random) arrow hits Ahab right between the joints of his armor, killing him as prophesied – “So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.”
In contrast to surrounding himself with men who tell him what he wants to hear, Jehoshaphat surrounds himself with men who fear the Lord. In Judah, Jehoshaphat establishes a judicial system in Jerusalem, and he says to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”
When the people of Moab and Ammon, descendants of Lot by his daughters, and others come against Judah, Jehoshaphat trusts in the Lord as he cries out to Him – “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” That is a good place to be when the multitudes are against you and you don’t know what to do. Keep your eyes on the Lord, pour your heart out to Him, and wait on Him to act on your behalf. He will not let you down!
The Lord responds to Jehoshaphat because God acts for those who trust in Him, not themselves – “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
“So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.’”
“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated…Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies… And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.”
So we see that the Lord destroyed the wicked Ahab, the one not trusting in Him, and He saved the righteous Jehoshaphat, the one trusting in Him to act on his behalf. Our help is always in the Lord:
“Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless” (Psalm 60:11).
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).
Tomorrow, the Lord calls Elijah to confront the new king of Israel, Ahaziah, the son of Ahab. Keep reading. (1 Kings 22:10-28, 2 Chronicles 18:9-27, 1 Kings 22:29-35, 2 Chronicles 18:28-34, 1 Kings 22:36-40, 51-53, 2 Chronicles 19:1-20:30)