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Bible Pathways 04/30/2002

April 30

Read 1 Kings 21 -- 22

In Today's Reading:

The covetousness and greed of Ahab leads Jezebel to arrange for the murder of Naboth l The doom of Ahab and Jezebel pronounced l Micaiah's prophecy of Ahab's death l Jehoshaphat and Ahab go to battle against Syria l Ahab's death and Israel's defeat.

Verse for Today:

Micaiah said, Behold . . . thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said . . . Put this fellow in the prison (1 Kings 22:25-27).

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 (1 Kings 21:25-26). An unnamed prophet foretold that God would give Ahab a 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 the jurisdiction of Ramoth-gilead to Israel, 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 (22:1-4). This made Ahab very angry (22:1-3). Therefore, Ahab invited Jehoshaphat, his daughter's father-in-law and King of Judah, to Samaria for a banquet (2 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 Ahab's paid prophets unanimously assured the two kings of a great victory. But godly Jehoshaphat must have felt uneasy and asked Ahab: Is there . . . a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him (1 Kings 22:7)? Reluctantly Ahab replied: There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he [does] not prophesy good concerning me, but evil (22:8). God always has His witness of truth.

The messenger who was sent to bring Micaiah from prison urged him to declare good [to] the king . . . let [your] word . . . be like the word of one of them, and speak [what] 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 as well as a promotion. 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 robes and dress as a common 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 (22:34), and he died on the first day of battle. Many have yet to learn that they cannot hide from the judgment of God.

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 of not allowing God to control their lives. In contrast, anyone who seeks to let Christ be Lord of their lives will experience the peace of God which passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Christ Portrayed:

By Micaiah, who would say only what God instructed him to say (1 Kings 22:14). Jesus faithfully told others everything God told Him to say. Then said Jesus [to] them . . . I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father [has] taught Me, I speak these things (John 8:28; 12:49-50).

Word Studies:

21:25 stirred up = incited; 21:27 went softly = went subdued; 22:3 be still = do nothing; 22:10 void = open, perhaps threshing floor; 22:11 push = gore; 22:13 one mouth = unanimous; 22:16 adjure = put you on oath; 22:34 at a venture = without specific aim; harness = armor; 22:48 broken = wrecked.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Robert Scott (VA) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: China, Mainland (1.2 billion) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Standard Chinese (Putonghua) or Mandarin (based on the Beijing dialect) · Renewed persecution of the Church · 18% Chinese folk-religionist; 6% Buddhist; 2% Muslim; number of Christians unknown but growing · Prayer Suggestion: When you pray, be brief and pray from your heart (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Optional Reading: Romans 3

Memory Verse for the Week: Jeremiah 15:16

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