Today’s reading is 2 Chronicles 17-20
These 4 chapters are quite the read! Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, became king of Judah. He was a great leader who followed God, but he still made mistakes that cost him greatly. He seemed to be very strong in his convictions, but when it came to choosing alliances he did not make wise choices. He chose to join forces with King Ahab (who did not follow the Lord) by allowing their children to marry. This brought Jehoshaphat into an alliance that almost cost him his life in the midst of battle. King Ahab “enticed” Jehoshaphat in joining him in an attack against Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoshaphat eagerly agreed, but then took a step back and said, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says”(18:4). King Ahab appeased him and brought in 400 of his prophets who agreed 100% with the attack and assured them there would be victory. Jehoshaphat was not convinced so he requested that a prophet of the Lord come forward. Instead of 400, there was only one. The prophet of the Lord, Michaiah, prophesied that King Ahab would NOT be victorious like the other 400 prophets had said. So what did they do? They attacked Ramoth-Gilead anyway! What happened? King Ahab died and Jehoshaphat was spared after his urgent prayer to God to save him. 2 Chronicles 18:31 “But Jehoshaphat cried out to the Lord to save him, and God helped him by turning the attack away from him”.
I am struck by the decision to follow the advice of 400 prophets that belonged to a king who did not follow God. These were most likely false prophets who told the king what he wanted to hear instead of the truth. 400 voices are definitely louder than 1, and easier to listen to when they are telling us to do the very thing we want to do anyway. Jehoshaphat was right in asking for a prophet of the Lord, but for some reason he couldn’t stand up and follow his advice when it disagreed with everyone else. Was it because he didn’t want to let his buddy King Ahab down? Was he caught up in the moment of excitement for battle? Was it too hard to turn back and say no? There are a lot of voices in our world today. Like Jehoshaphat, I’m guilty of following the crowd in spite of my convictions. There have been times I have caved and done things that I knew were not in God’s plan for my life. The good news is that God heard Jehoshaphat’s cry for help in the midst of his sin. He made a poor choice and found himself on the brink of disaster, but he “cried out to the Lord to save him” and he did.
What voices are you listening to in the midst of all the decisions of life? The agreeable 400, or the challenging 1? Have you followed the 400 into a disaster? It’s never to late to cry out for help.