142 - The End of King Ahab’s Reign
While Ahab ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, Jehoshaphat ruled Judah in the south. Jehoshaphat was a good king who loved God. He set up an educational program so that everyone could learn God’s Laws. He also secured Judah’s cities and borders. The surrounding nations made peace with him because they knew that God was on his side. He became very powerful, and his people loved him very much. When King Jehoshaphat’s son married King Ahab’s daughter, Judah and Israel became allies. Jehoshaphat decided to visit Ahab to strengthen their alliance. During the visit, Ahab urged Jehoshaphat to help him in a battle he was planning against the king of Syria. Jehoshaphat was willing to help, but first he wanted to be sure that God approved. “Let’s ask a prophet,” he said. King Ahab sent for all 400 of his prophets and asked, “Shall we go to war?” The prophets all replied, “Yes! Go fight. God will give you the victory.” But King Jehoshaphat did not trust Ahab’s prophets. He wanted to hear from one of God’s prophets—not one of King Ahab’s! “Is there not at least one of the Lord’s prophets left in Israel?” he asked. Ahab replied, “Yes, his name is Micaiah. But I hate him because he never says anything good about me. Everything he predicts is bad!” Ahab reluctantly sent for Micaiah. The officer who brought Micaiah to the meeting put pressure on him by saying, “All the other prophets are predicting success for the king. I advise you to agree with them.” Micaiah replied, “I can only tell the king what God tells me to say.” When Micaiah arrived, King Ahab asked, “Should I lead my army into battle or stay home?” Micaiah replied, “You should definitely go. You will be victorious.” Ahab was surprised. It was the answer he wanted. But then he realized that Micaiah was being sarcastic. So, he asked, “What does the Lord really say? Tell me the truth!” Micaiah courageously replied, “I saw all Israel scattered like sheep. They no longer have a shepherd. Then the Lord said to me, ‘These people have no master; let them each go home in peace.’” King Ahab was upset. He knew this meant he would die. “See, he never says anything good!” he sulked angrily. But Micaiah continued, “I saw God sitting on His throne in heaven. He asked, ‘How shall I entice the king of Israel to go into battle so he will die?’ One of the angels replied, ‘I’ll get his prophets to lie. He will believe them and go into battle.’ God gave the angel permission, and that’s exactly what happened. God does want you to fight, but you will not return safely.” One of Ahab’s prophets slapped Micaiah in the face for saying this, and Ahab had Micaiah thrown in prison. Both kings went into battle together. Ahab disguised himself, but Jehoshaphat wore his royal robes. The battle was fierce. The whole focus of the opposing army was to kill Ahab, but they couldn’t find him. Finally, an archer shot an arrow randomly into the air. It came down and struck Ahab at a joint in his armor. He yelled, “Help, I’m wounded! Get me out of here!” He propped himself up in his chariot so he could watch the rest of the battle. Ahab died as the sun set. Later, as they washed his chariot, the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood just as Elijah had prophesied (see #141 - May 21).
Are you willing to speak up for what God says is true—even when it is not the popular thing to do? Even when there is a lot of pressure to fit in with the crowd? Micaiah was willing to tell the truth—even though it put his life in danger! (More than likely he was one of the prophets God chose to honor in Hebrews 11:36-38 for the jeers he faced and the imprisonment he endured.)