April 30

Read I Kings 21 -- 22

King Ahab was the eighth king to rule the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His capital was at Samaria. On the north, Ahab's kingdom bordered Phoenicia, whose chief city was Sidon.

The events that led to Ahab's death are recorded so that we might see the end result of a person like Ahab, who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols (I Kings 21:25-26). An unnamed prophet foretold to Ahab that God would give him a miraculous victory over the Syrian king Ben-hadad at Aphek. But, after defeating Ben-hadad, Ahab freed this enemy, and even called him my brother (20:32). Ben-hadad agreed to return to Israel the jurisdiction of Ramoth-gilead, a strategic fortress controlling the plain of Jezreel near Israel's border with Syria.

Despite Ben-hadad's promise, after three years the fortress still remained under Syrian control. This made Ahab very angry (22:1-3). Therefore, Ahab invited Jehoshaphat, his daughter's father-in-law, King of Judah, to Samaria for a banquet (II Chronicles 18:1-3; 21:6). Ahab took advantage of the occasion to ask Jehoshaphat to join him in a war to regain Ramoth-gilead. Four hundred of Ahabs paid prophets unanimously assured the two kings of a great victory. But godly Jehoshaphat must have felt uneasy and asked Ahab: Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him? (I Kings 22:7). Reluctantly Ahab replied: There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil (22:8).

The messenger who was sent to bring Micaiah from prison urged him to declare good unto the king . . . let your word . . . be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that will I speak (22:13-14). If Micaiah had cooperated, no doubt he would have immediately gained his freedom. But Micaiah courageously proclaimed: I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd (22:17).

Micaiah had bluntly foretold Ahab's death. So Ahab said to Jehoshaphat: Did I not tell you that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? (22:18). He then ordered Micaiah to be taken back to prison.

Micaiah's words put just enough fear into Ahab that he decided to remove his royal garments and dress as a peasant soldier, assuming the Syrians would not recognize him. He then encouraged Jehoshaphat to wear his royal garments. A divinely-directed "chance" arrow smote (Ahab) the King of Israel, and he died on the first day of battle (22:34).

The tragic consequences of Ahab's disregard for the Word of God during his brief lifetime should be a warning to all who are making the same fatal mistake. In contrast, a follower of Christ can express victory by declaring with the psalmist: I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (Psalms 16:8).

Christ Portrayed: By Micaiah, who would say only what God instructed him to say (I Kings 22:14). Jesus very faithfully told others everything God told Him to say (John 8:28; 12:49-50).

Word Studies: 21:27 went softly means humbled with reverential fear; 22:11 push means gore; 22:13 one mouth means unanimous; 22:16 adjure means put you on oath; 22:34 at a venture means without specific aim; harness means armor.

Prayer:

Government Official: Rep. Robert Scott (VA) · BPM Staff: Mark Ketterer · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KJAK-FM, Lubbock, TX · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. John A. Hash · Country: France (59 million) in western Europe · Major language: French · Religious freedom · 74% Roman Catholic; 5% Muslim; 2% Protestant; 1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Trust the Lord and ask Him to direct your steps (Psalms 143:8).

Optional Reading: Romans 3

Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:16