Summary: An exploration of Ahab's tragic death on the last battlefield of his life.
1 Kings 22:34-35 KJV And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.  And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
I. INTRODUCTION—GENERAL GEORGE CUSTER
If you have any familiarity with American history at all, I am certain that you have run across the name of George Custer. He was called the Boy General and was one of the most self-assured Indian fighters who ever lived. While he did have some accomplishments to his credit, he is known most of all for his biggest failure.
He graduated from West Point in 1858 last in his class. However his academic rating did not deter him in the least and when the Civil War started managed to serve well in the Union Army. His strength was that he served diligently early in his career under some very prominent officers. He served Winfield Scott, Irvin McDowell, and finally under General George McClellan. He did well in the Battle of Bull Run but really proved himself in the Appomattox campaign which led to the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.
After the Civil War took place, he began to get involved in the Indian campaigns as America stretched on to the west. He primarily fought with the Sioux and the Cheyenne and early on had some victories. But his progress and success led to his downfall.
Against the advice and wisdom of his commanders, he plunged in to the Battle of Little Bighorn against the Sioux and the Cheyenne. He took somewhere around 550 men and ran right into an ambush of 3500 Indians led by Crazy Horse and lost his life. His last attributed historical quote by some of the men who were with him stated that he said, “Hurrah boys, we've got them! We'll finish them up and then go home to our station.”
But it was not to be and shortly thereafter he died foolishly.
-Much can be gleaned from historical battles such as these and the passage we have read in this text gives to us another similar story—a man who refused to listen to the voice of God.
II. THE BACKGROUND OF 1 KINGS 22
A. Ahab and Benhadad
-The text that we read comes from a time in Ahab’s existence that he was in a battle against Ben-hadad. The king of Syria came with a vast army that had thirty-two other kings in an alliance against Ahab in Samaria.
-The Lord intervened in behalf of Ahab and Samaria and delivered them into their hands. His small army defeated the Syrians and their allies so that later they would say that Israel’s God could win victories in the hills but not in the valleys and the plains.
-So the following year, they attacked again but God gave a great victory to the wicked Ahab (1 Kings 20:13-30). But the devil was at work in all of it despite God’s hand of deliverance for Ahab.
-The Syrians drew them into a wicked alliance. The enemies of God made Ahab to believe that these Syrians were repentant and humbled in their defeat and Ahab got caught up in believing his press reports about how great he was and did not kill Ben-hadad.
-But on his way home, there was an anonymous prophet sitting by the road (1 Kings 20:31-43) who had disguised himself. When Ahab came along, he enquired of the prophet who then got up and told a story.
-He told a tale about a prisoner who had escaped and before the story was completed Ahab had confessed his guilt and passed his own sentence. Most scholars believe that this disguised prophet was none other than Micaiah who would confront him again in 1 Kings 22.
B. Wasted Opportunities
-The situation facing Ahab in his life was his refusal to take advantage of his opportunities. Ahab should have killed his enemies when they were on the ropes but instead he chose not to do so.
-Ahab was not the first king to do this, Saul fell into the same plight with the Amalekites and one of the young men of the enemy killed him.
-But this kind of thing doesn’t’ just happen to kings, I have known preachers who refused to kill the troubling spiritual and inner enemies of their heart and in the end, their armor was pierced. I have known good saints of God who did not take care of the troubling and besetting sins of their lives and it pulled them out of the church.