It’s true what they say about finding the answers to life’s questions in the Bible. Today, I read about the problem with wrong alliances and acting on our own wisdom and folly. Picture this: Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, King of Israel were in-laws. Jehoshaphat’s son was married to Ahab’s daughter. One day, while Ahab was entertaining his in-law he asked him to ally with him in a war to recover a land and people that had been taken from him. Hey, what could be wrong with such a request? After all they were friends and family and should do anything for each other, right? Jehoshaphat said, “of course ... but first, let’s find out what the Lord says.” When I read his simple response I was wowed, impressed, convicted. I am sure you know how difficult it can be to say “No” to people, especially the ones you love.
Ahab summoned his own prophets, the ones he had paid to prophesy only the things he wanted to hear, and they told him to proceed to war. But Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from a prophet of God, one who would not be afraid to speak the truth. Micaiah was such a prophet and he warned both Kings not to go to war because King Ahab would lose his life. The rest is history. King Ahab disobeyed, went to the war in disguise, and asked Jehoshaphat to fight in his own kingly robes so he would become the target of the enemy’s army. True to Micaiah’s prophesy, Ahab died in the war (in spite of his plot to have Jehoshaphat killed in his place).
I really don’t understand why Jehoshaphat ignored Micaiah’s prophesy and still allied with Ahab, but he surely learned a lesson that day. The lesson is very relevant to us today. In a nutshell, it is okay to say, “Let me pray about it!” We can seek God’s counsel in the little as well as in the serious matters of life. And the good news is that, today, we do not need to consult a prophet. God speaks directly to our hearts if we only ask.
After the war was over, Jehoshaphat learned from another prophet, Jehu, the folly of “helping the wicked and loving those who hate the Lord.” Jehu confirmed what I believe was the reason Jehoshaphat was spared. He had removed the idols in the land and committed himself to seeking God.
Jehoshaphat spent the rest of his reign encouraging the people to return to the Lord, the God of their ancestors- a lesson he had learned very well.