Friday, December 29, 2017

Year 7, Day 363: 1 Kings 22

Theological Commentary: Click Here

1 Kings 22 is another interesting chapter.  In this chapter we can see the death of Ahab and the plan leading up to it.   As we analyze this chapter, we will come to moral and ethical debate.  We will wonder God and His working.

Israel and Judah make a plan to work together to stand u against their enemies.  Ahab’s prophets all tell Ahab to go about the plan.  However, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, wants to hear from a prophet of God.  When Micaiah is found, Micaiah tells the kings that if they go up to battle that it will end poorly.  The kings go up to battle anyways and Ahab is indeed killed in battle as predicted.

The interesting part of this chapter is in what Micaiah speaks when asked about how the plan came together.  In his vision, Micaiah says that he saw into the throne room of God and heard God ask, “Who will go entice Ahab, that he will go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead?”  The spirit who responds to God says that he will be a “lying spirit” in the mouth of his prophets.

Here is an interesting point to ponder.  I have no trouble asserting that Ahab was evil.  His prophets were false.  There is no debating that Ahab and his prophets were no legitimate authorities administering God’s righteous judgment.  All of this aside, this passage tells us that God uses a lying spirit to work through these illegitimate prophets!  Is it right to lie to those who exercise illegitimate authority?  Perhaps more simply stated, is it right to lie?

There is no easy answer to this question.  We can try to dismiss this passage by saying that it isn’t God who lied, but a spirit in His presence.  However, that’s a bit like saying that a person who orders someone to be killed isn’t guilty of the death because they didn’t actually do the act that resulted in death.

For me, I believe that the best answer lies in accepting that we cannot know the scope of God’s ways.  When I come across chapters like this, I like to think back to the advice given by God to Job?  Where was I when God created the world or the great creatures like the Leviathan?  Do I understand how the winds are held back or called forth?  Who am I to sit in judgment?

In the end, the reality is that Ahab’s time had come.  Ahab’s advisors, false prophets of malevolent gods, advise Ahab to go into battle.  God’s prophet, Micaiah, tells Ahab the truth about what was said in the presence of God.  Ahab is given the full perspective in the end, and Ahab chooses to listen to the false prophets anyways.  In the end, this chapter has more to do with humanity’s desire to listen to what it wants to hear regardless of how the message is delivered. 

For me, that’s the real takeaway here.  Once Ahab heard everything, he still went out to battle.  He tried to cheat death by disguising himself and lost anyways.  Human beings will do what we want to do and hear what we want to hear.