Summary: Jehoshaphat joined himself to go to war to aid Ahab despite the word of God which was clear that they were going to lose. In this sermon we extract lessons from this story which we can apply in our lives today
In the previous sermon (it's not over until it's over), we learnt about a war which started in heaven and was fought by celestial beings. In this chapter, we shall consider another war which happened on planet earth involving humans and is recorded in 1st Kings Chapter 22.
Jehoshaphat the king of Judah visited his counterpart Ahab the king of Israel. While on that trip Ahab asked Jehoshaphat if he could join him in a war he wanted to make against the Syrians to take the land of Ramoth-Gilead from them. Ahab didn’t want to fight his battle alone, he wanted to invite Jehoshaphat to join him. Jehoshaphat responded to this invitation with the words: "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses. Please inquire for the word of the LORD today." (1 Kings 22:4).
Hear what God has to say
Though the king of Judah had soldiers under his command, though he had horses to use during the war, he was not content with just going to this fight without first hearing what the word of the Lord had to say about this.
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the LORD”. Proverbs 21:31
He knew that though you might have horses prepared and ready for war, though you might have the good soldiers on your side, deliverance (victory) comes from the Lord. So he dared not to venture into the war without first hearing what the word of the Lord had to say. He wanted to know whether it’s going to be an AYE or NAY from The Lord. In all that we do, let us seek to know what the word of God says first before embarking on that thing, lest we do something which is not sanctioned by God or we fail to do what God requires us to do and we end up in sin. Don’t just get into things because someone has invited you into it and you have the resources to do so but consult God first, pray to Him, read His word, seek counsel from those who fear God.
Beware of Counterfeits
When Ahab learnt that Jehoshaphat wanted to hear the word of the Lord first before embarking on this battle, he gathered about four hundred prophets. These were not servants of the true Lord who Jehoshaphat had desired to know His word but these were all false prophets. Let us be watchful of the likes of Ahab whom when we desire to hear the word of God they bring to us counterfeits in their numbers to mislead us. To these four hundred false prophets, Ahab asked: "Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to fight, or shall I refrain?" And they are replied from the same page, "Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king." (1 Kings 22:6). Imagine four hundred prophets all saying the same thing, you would be tempted to think that they are speaking the truth. It would have been normal to see Jehoshaphat appreciating this good message coming from these prophets, but instead, he says “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?" (1 Kings 22:7).
Wait a minute, what is Jehoshaphat suggesting here? He still wants to hear from the prophet of the Lord yet he has just heard four hundred prophets speak? It’s clear, Jehoshaphat is not deceived, he knows very well that these prophets who just spoke are not prophets of the true God hence he wants to hear from a prophet of the true Lord. The numbers did not convince him. No matter how many people might preach lies, no matter how popular they might be, lies remain lies. A lie will not change into truth because it has been preached by many people. Don’t follow a lie simply because it is being preached or practised by many people, but follow after the truth no matter how unpopular it might be.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Notice something in the King of Judah’s request, "Is there not still a PROPHET of the LORD here…”, he uses the word Prophet (singular) and not prophets (plural) meaning that he was going to be satisfied if he was to hear just one true prophet of the Lord than the four hundred fake prophets. Truth is truth though presented by a few and lies are lies even if presented by hundreds. So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." (1 Kings 22:8)