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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 18

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-34

Chapter 18

Now Jehoshaphat had these riches and honor in abundance, and [for some reason,] he joined affinity with Ahab ( 2 Chronicles 18:1 ).

Who was one of the most wicked of all the kings of the northern tribes. Why? I don't know. But he went up to visit Ahab in Samaria. And while he was there visiting, Ahab said, "Look, I'm going to go out and fight against the Syrians at Ramothgilead. You want to go with me?" Jehoshaphat said, "Why not? You know, I'm with you as one. We're one together. We're both kings over the nation. So sure, I'll go with you." And so they went up against Syria there at Ramothgilead. But Jehoshaphat, before they went said, "Hey, is there a prophet of God that we can inquire of to see if God's in this thing?" And so he called the prophets in, four hundred of them. And they all said, "Go up, the Lord be with you and prosper you and give you victory over your enemy."

Now Jehoshaphat said, "Isn't there any other prophet?" Now here were four hundred guys agreeing together. But Jehoshaphat somehow felt something a little funny about it. He said, "Isn't there any other prophet that we might inquire?" "There's one guy, his name is Micaiah. But that man, he never has anything good to say to me. I don't like to call him because always bad news for me from this guy." He said, "Don't say that. Maybe this will be good. Just call him in and see what he say to say." So they sent his servant to get this one prophet Micaiah and he said, "Now look fellow, you've got a reputation of giving bad news to the king all the time. So hey, say a good word. Don't give him bad news."

So the king, when Micaiah came in, said, "Shall I go up against Syria at Ramothgilead?" And old Micaiah said, "Yes, go, prosper, defeat your enemies. Sure, go ahead." And the king said, "Look, man. How many times have I told you not to lie to me in the name of the LORD?" And he said, "All right, if you want to know the truth, I'll lay it on you, King. I saw a vision and the men of Israel were all scattered, and they were like sheep without a shepherd." Declaring that the king was going to fall in the battle. And he said, "Didn't I tell you this guy never has anything good to say about me?"

And so the prophet went on to tell him.

I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all of the host of heaven were standing on his right hand and his left ( 2 Chronicles 18:18 ).

What an awesome vision the prophet had. God's throne and all of the host of heaven.

And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying, I can do this, and another said, I can do this. But there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said, How? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee ( 2 Chronicles 18:19-22 ).

So Zedekiah, one of the prophets that was there who had made some iron horns and went running around like a nut with these iron horns and saying, "Thus you're going to push the king of Syria all over the place." He slapped this guy in the face. He said, "Tell me, what direction did the spirit go that told me to slap you?"

And Micaiah said to him, Behold, you shall see the day when you are going to go to the inner chamber to hide yourself ( 2 Chronicles 18:24 ).

So the king of Israel ordered him to be taken and put in jail until I come back in peace. He said, "Hey, if you come back in peace, I'm a false prophet."

Now the difficulty lies in how God worked in this circumstance. Why would God allow a lying spirit to fill the four hundred prophets to entice the king to go to battle at Ramothgilead? I don't want to get too involved in it. We don't have time tonight. But God has created all things for His purposes. And even Satan is fulfilling the purposes of God. God has placed the limitations on what Satan can do. He can only do what God allows him to do. Satan complained against certain limitations and restrictions that God had placed upon him concerning Job. But God does use Satan for His purposes.

When God created man a free moral agent, gave to man the capacity of self-determination, gave to man the power of choice, it was necessary in order that man's choice be valid that there be something to choose. If you didn't have any choice, then what value is it to have the capacity of choice? It doesn't really make sense that God has endowed me with this glorious capacity of choice. "I'm going to create man after My own image, a self-determinate being. He will be able to choose," but then there's nothing to choose. All there is is good in the whole universe. There's nothing, there's no alternatives to choose. So take your choice. But there isn't any choice.

So God had to create the choice. He had to allow Satan to rebel in order to create the alternate choice in order that He might know that man truly loves Him and serves Him from a heart of love. Because God was looking for love and fellowship from man. God could never know if that love was genuine unless the capacity of choice was there. And thus, God allowed the rebellion of Satan. God placed the tree in the garden. He allowed Satan to exploit the tree in order that man might have the opportunity to exercise that choice, in order that God might receive true fulfillment from the love that man offered unto God.

So God has given to you the capacity of choice tonight. You don't have to love God. You don't have to serve God. You don't have to express your love to God. But you have the choice. You can do it if you want. But if you choose to do it, then God knows that you've done it by choice, that it is really in your heart to do so. "Oh God, I love You." I don't have to say that. I could choose to hate God if I desired. I could choose to rebel against God. I could choose to live a life totally after my own flesh in complete rebellion against God. I have that choice. But by the very virtue of the fact that I have chosen to love God, to serve God, to commit myself to God, He knows that it's a genuine love, a genuine commitment, because I don't have to. And thus, He receives from it that warmth of fellowship that He was desiring from man.

So God here is allowing this spirit, a lying spirit to come into the mouths of the prophets in order that He might fulfill His purpose to get this guy up to Ramothgilead. You say, "Well, couldn't God have used something else?" Of course He could. But He chose and He has that capacity and power to, and I can't really argue with the choices that God makes. I don't know why God has chosen me. I'm glad He did. I don't argue with it. And I made a point not to argue with the choices of God, because I know that He is wiser than I am, much smarter than I am. So I just say, "Lord, if that's what You chose. You know what's best."

Now it worked. Ahab went up against Benhadad or the forces of Syria. Now Benhadad the king had said to his captains, he said, "Look, there is only one guy we really want, that's Ahab the king. So concentrate on getting him. Let that be the concentration of the battle is to get the king. I'm not worried about the rest of the army. If we can get the king, they'll fold." So as they were going into battle, these two fellows, Jehoshaphat and Ahab, Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "Hey, I like to sort of get into the thick of things. Let me just put on the robes of one of my soldiers. Here, you put on my robe and all and you ride in my chariot. I want to get another chariot. I want to get into the battle here."

So Jehoshaphat got in the king's chariot and there he was with the king's robe on. And of course, the captains of Syria were all looking for the king's chariot. When they saw him, they began to encircle him. And he got on the horse and really got going and crying out, you know, and really trying to get out of there because they were all concentrating on him. And when they saw that it wasn't Ahab, then they turned from pursuing him. And one guy just pulled back, you know, bunch of people over there. Just pulled back and let fly with his arrow. Had a venture. Wasn't really shooting at anybody, just shooting in the direction of the enemy. And God directed that arrow and it came right through, pierced through Ahab the king. And he propped himself up in the chariot to continue the battle. But by the end of the day, Ahab had died. And the prophecies of God were fulfilled. The purposes of God were fulfilled. And Jehoshaphat, of course, returned back to Jerusalem. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 18". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-chronicles-18.html. 2014.
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