SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
1 Kings 22:1-53
22:1 There was no war between Syria and Israel for three years. 2 In the third year King Jehoshaphat of Judah came down to visit the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel said to his servants, “Surely you recognize that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us, though we are hesitant to reclaim it from the king of Syria.” 4 Then he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I will support you; my army and horses are at your disposal.” 5 But then Jehoshaphat said to Israel’s king, “Please seek a message from the Lord this very day.” 6 So the king of Israel assembled about 400 prophets and asked them, “Should I attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” They said, “Attack! The Sovereign One will hand it over to the king.” 7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord still here, that we may ask him?” 8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can seek the Lord’s will. But I despise him because he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster. His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.” Jehoshaphat said, “The king should not say such things.” 9 The king of Israel summoned an official and said, “Quickly bring Micaiah son of Imlah.”
10 Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their respective thrones, dressed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah made iron horns and said, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘With these you will gore Syria until they are destroyed.’” 12 All the prophets were prophesying the same, saying, “Attack Ramoth Gilead! You will succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 13 Now the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the prophets are in complete agreement that the king will succeed. Your words must agree with theirs; you must predict success.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As certainly as the Lord lives, I will say what the Lord tells me to say.”
15 When he came before the king, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” He answered him, “Attack! You will succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you solemnly promise in the name of the Lord to tell me only the truth?” 17 Micaiah said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep that have no shepherd. Then the Lord said, ‘They have no master. They should go home in peace.’” 18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster?” 19 Micaiah said, “That being the case, listen to the Lord’s message. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the heavenly assembly standing beside him on his right and on his left. 20 The Lord said, ‘Who will deceive Ahab, so he will attack Ramoth Gilead and die there?’ One said this and another that. 21 Then a spirit stepped forward and stood before the Lord. He said, ‘I will deceive him.’ 22 The Lord asked him, ‘How?’ He replied, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.’ The Lord said, ‘Deceive and overpower him. Go out and do as you have proposed.’ 23 So now, look, the Lord has placed a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours, but the Lord has decreed disaster for you.” 24 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah approached, hit Micaiah on the jaw, and said, “Which way did the Lord’s Spirit go when he went from me to speak to you?” 25 Micaiah replied, “Look, you will see in the day when you go into an inner room to hide.” 26 Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon the city official and Joash the king’s son. 27 Say, ‘This is what the king says, “Put this man in prison. Give him only a little bread and water until I safely return.”’” 28 Micaiah said, “If you really do safely return, then the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Take note, all you people.”
29 The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah attacked Ramoth Gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and then enter into the battle, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and then entered into the battle. 31 Now the king of Syria had ordered his 32 chariot commanders, “Do not fight common soldiers or high-ranking officers; fight only the king of Israel.” 32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “He must be the king of Israel.” So they turned and attacked him, but Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 When the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, they turned away from him. 34 Now an archer shot an arrow at random, and it struck the king of Israel between the plates of his armor. The king ordered his charioteer, “Turn around and take me from the battle line, because I’m wounded.” 35 While the battle raged throughout the day, the king stood propped up in his chariot opposite the Syrians. He died in the evening; the blood from the wound ran down into the bottom of the chariot. 36 As the sun was setting, a cry went through the camp, “Each one should return to his city and to his homeland.” 37 So the king died and was taken to Samaria, where they buried him. 38 They washed off the chariot at the pool of Samaria. Then the dogs licked his blood, while the prostitutes bathed, in keeping with the Lord’s message that he had spoken.
39 The rest of the events of Ahab’s reign, including a record of his accomplishments and how he built a luxurious palace and various cities, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 40 Ahab passed away. His son Ahaziah replaced him as king.
41 In the fourth year of Ahab’s reign over Israel, Asa’s son Jehoshaphat became king over Judah. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 43 He followed in his father Asa’s footsteps and was careful to do what the Lord approved. (22:44) However, the high places were not eliminated; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense on the high places. 44 (22:45) Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel.
45 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, including his successes and military exploits, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 46 He removed from the land any male cultic prostitutes who had managed to survive the reign of his father Asa. 47 There was no king in Edom at this time; a governor ruled. 48 Jehoshaphat built a fleet of large merchant ships to travel to Ophir for gold, but they never made the voyage because they were shipwrecked in Ezion Geber. 49 Then Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my sailors join yours in the fleet,” but Jehoshaphat refused.
50 Jehoshaphat passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his ancestor David. His son Jehoram replaced him as king.
51 In the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat’s reign over Judah, Ahab’s son Ahaziah became king over Israel in Samaria. He ruled for two years over Israel. 52 He did evil in the sight of the Lord and followed in the footsteps of his father and mother; like Jeroboam son of Nebat, he encouraged Israel to sin. 53 He worshiped and bowed down to Baal, angering the Lord God of Israel just as his father had done.