A KING IN DISGUISE

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[1 Kings:22:1-40].

Lesson No.: 
305
Class: 
Junior
Memory Verse: 

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Notes: 

Without War
There were many battles between the Children of Israel and the Syrians. During the reign of Ahab, Ben-hadad, King of Syrians, was defeated. Then for a period of three years there was no war between the two countries. At this time of peace, Ahab began to plan how he could capture the city of Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. Ahab felt that it belonged to the Israelites. Many years before, Moses had proclaimed Ramoth-gilead to be a city of refuge, east of the Jordan River (Lesson 139). The city of Ramoth-gilead was a part of the inheritance of Gad [Deuteronomy:4:43]). This was the city that Ahab planned to take from the Syrians.

Ahab’s daughter was married to Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah [2 Chronicles:21:6]). Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab, at which time Ahab killed sheep and oxen in abundance for a feast. Ahab was very kind to Jehoshaphat and his people. Then Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to go to battle with him to capture Ramoth-gilead.

An Agreement
Jehoshaphat agreed to go to war with Ahab. Jehoshaphat said, “I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war” [2 Chronicles:18:3]). This was a strange statement to make, for the two kings were really very different. In our studies of Ahab’s reign we have learned that Ahab worshiped idols and that he did evil by working wickedness in the sight of the Lord [1 Kings:21:20], [1 Kings:21:25]). On the other hand, we read that Jehoshaphat sought the Lord, “walked in his commandments,” and took away the groves of idol worship [2 Chronicles:17:3-6]). Jehoshaphat strengthened himself against Israel. He put forces in the fenced cities and set garrisons in the land of Judah for protection. God blessed Jehoshaphat with riches and honour in abundance.

It was not only strange for Jehoshaphat to make an agreement of this kind with Ahab, but it was also wrong. We see how Jehoshaphat was influenced to do wrong because he associated with evil Ahab when it was not necessary. God had warned His people not to be friends with those who worshiped idols lest they would be made to sin against the Lord [Exodus:23:33]). God had told them not to make a covenant with idol worshipers, for the idol worshipers would be a snare” [Exodus:34:12]).

A Snare
God expects His people today to keep themselves from evil companions. We find this instruction in God’s Word: “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men” [Proverbs:4:14]). The Psalmist said: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” [Psalms:1:1]). In the New Testament we are told, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” [2 Corinthians:6:14]), and those who have done so -– whether in business partnership, marriage, or unnecessary association -– have found it to be a snare. To Jehoshaphat this agree-ment with one who hated God brought the wrath of God as well as a snare. Jehu, the son of a prophet, said to Jehoshaphat, “Shouldest thou . . . love them that hate the LORD? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD” [2 Chronicles:19:2]).

False Prophets
After agreeing to help Ahab, Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire of the Lord about the matter. Ahab sent for his false prophets, 400 of them. They assured the kings that the Lord would deliver Ramoth-gilead into their hands. Even though 400 said the same thing, Jehoshaphat knew that they were not true prophets of the Lord. If we really love the Lord and obey Him, He will show us, too, those who speak the truth and those who do not speak the truth: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” [John:8:31-32]). These were the words of the Lord spoken by David: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” [Psalms:32:8]).

Jehoshaphat asked if there was not a prophet of the Lord that would inquire for them. There was one man, named Micaiah, but Ahab hated him because he did not prophesy any good for Ahab. A true prophet could not speak any good of an evil man, but Ahab wanted to hear “good” instead of hearing the truth.

Obedience to God
A messenger went to get Micaiah. On the way he told the Prophet what the others had said. He tried to persuade Micaiah to speak like the others. Michaiah was a true Prophet. He could speak only the words which the Lord gave him. He said, “As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” God’s people are more concerned about pleasing God than they are that their actions and words are pleasing men. When the disciples of Jesus were questioned about their preaching, they said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” [Acts:5:29]).

Dressed in their royal robes, Ahab and Jehoshaphat sat on thrones near the gate of Samaria. There they had heard the words of the false prophets. One of them, Zedekiah, had even given them a sign that they would be successful in the battle. He made horns of iron, representing honour and power, to try to prove his prophecy.

When Michaiah stood before the kings, he was asked the same question that the others had been asked. Micaiah gave them the same answer, but it must have been in a tone of voice that showed sarcasm and mockery. The king said that he wanted to hear nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord. Micaiah then gave them the message from the Lord. He said that all Israel would be scattered as sheep without a shepherd. Micaiah told them that the Lord said, “These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace” [2 Chronicles:18:16]).

Imprisoned
Ahab said to Jehoshaphat: “Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?” Micaiah told them that there was a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets, and that God had spoken against their plan. They did not like the words of Micaiah, the true message from God. They caused him to suffer for speaking the truth. Zedekiah spoke against Micaiah and hit him on the cheek. Ahab ordered Micaiah to be put in prison and fed only bread and water. As his parting words, Micaiah asked the people to witness, and said to Ahab, “If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me.”

Their Own Plan
Jehoshaphat had wanted to know what the Lord said about their plan to capture Ramoth-gilead; but when he found out, he did not take heed. He should have inquired of God before he ever made the agreement with Ahab. There are some people today who will listen to the words of the Lord but they will not take warning from them. Some ask advice of their leaders, and then do as they please -– contrary to that advice.

Ahab and Jehoshaphat prepared to go to battle. Ahab disguised himself but asked Jehoshaphat to wear his kingly robes, no doubt hoping to spare himself, and to expose Jehoshaphat, and thus to keep the words of prophecy from coming to pass.

The captains of the Syrians had orders to fight with Ahab, especially. In battle, they thought that Jehoshaphat was Ahab, so they surrounded him. Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord help him. The enemies realized that he was not Ahab, so they departed. Jehoshaphat almost lost his life because he was in Ahab’s place. When a Christian wears the clothes of a sinner, and takes the place of a sinner, he is in a dangerous place. Only the mercy of God spared Jehoshaphat, and only God can avail for one who is in the wrong place.

No Place of Safety
No doubt Ahab thought that he would be safe in his disguise. But a disguise does not hide one from the Lord. Although the enemy did not know which one was Ahab, the Lord did. There had been many words spoken against Ahab and his evil deeds. Ahab had been reproved many times, and had had an opportunity to repent. Micaiah had warned Ahab that he would not return if he went to this battle. Ahab did not trust God or believe God. Ahab chose to believe the false prophets and to trust his idols. But the words of the Lord will come to pass.

This was Ahab’s last battle. At random, a bowman shot an arrow which struck Ahab. He was seriously wounded and fell in his chariot. The driver of his chariot left the battle, and Ahab died at sunset. When the king was dead, the men were told to return to their homes. The people had no leader, so they were scattered. The prophecy of Micaiah came to pass: “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd.”

True Prophecy
The words of Elijah also came to pass at the death of Ahab. When Ahab went to possess Naboth’s vineyard, Elijah was sent to deliver these words to him: “Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” [1 Kings:21:19]).

Naboth had been stoned to death outside the city of Jezreel where Ahab lived. Perhaps Ahab thought that the prophecies of Elijah and Micaiah could not both come to pass. Micaiah said that Ahab would not return from battle against Ramoth-gilead. Elijah said that the dogs would lick Ahab’s blood in Samaria. God has spoken by both these men, and both prophecies came to pass. Ahab was slain in battle. He was returned to Samaria and was buried. When his chariot was washed by the pool of Samaria, the dogs were there and fulfilled the words of prophecy.

Mercy
In the Bible are some prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled. But they will come to pass. In the Old Testament we read: “The word of our God shall stand for ever” [Isaiah:40:8]); and “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” [Psalms:119:89]). In the New Testament we read: “The Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” [1 Peter:1:25]). These were Jesus’ words, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” [Matthew:24:35]); and “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” [Matthew:5:18]). The words of the Bible are true and they will come to pass. People may try to hinder and to hide, but what God has spoken He is able to do.

Some people try to cover their sins here but God knows about them because “all things are . . . opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” [Hebrews:4:13]). How much a person gains by confessing his life before the Lord rather than waiting until he stands before the judgment seat of God! If he confesses now, he will receive pardon; if he waits until judgment, there will be no mercy. “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” [1 Timothy:5:24]). The only way one can expect to receive mercy is to confess and forsake his sin. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper” [Proverbs:28:13]).

No Profit
Jehoshaphat did not gain any good by his alliance with evil Ahab. He was influenced to act contrary to the words of God’s prophecy. He almost lost his life because he was disguised as Ahab. While he was away with Ahab, Jehoshaphat could not rule his own people properly. He was accused of loving those who hated the Lord, and the wrath of God was upon him. So it is today that one does not profit when he chooses to take his own way rather than to obey God’s Word and take the advice of God’s ministers and the Bible.

The reward which a person will receive as he stands before God will depend upon the way he has lived here. If his life has been good, according to God’s Word, his reward will be good. If his life has not been good, according to the Bible, his reward will not be good, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans:6:23]).

Questions: 

1. Who was king of Judah?
2. Why did he go to battle against the city of Ramoth-gilead?
3. What advice was given by Ahab’s 400 prophets?
4. Who was Micaiah?
5. What was his prophecy?
6. Why did Ahab hate Micaiah?
7. Why were the kings disguised in battle?
8. Why was Jehoshaphat spared?
9. How was Ahab slain in battle?
10. What words of prophecy were fulfilled at Ahab’s death?