Wednesday, August 17, 2022

2022.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 22:1–40

Read 1 Kings 22:1–40

Questions from the Scripture text: How long did the truce last (1 Kings 22:1)? What happened in the third year (1 Kings 22:2)? To whom does Ahab say what, in Jehoshaphat’s hearing, in 1 Kings 22:3? Then what does he propose in 1 Kings 22:4? How does Jehoshaphat respond? But what does he want (1 Kings 22:5)? How many of whom does Ahab gather to ask in 1 Kings 22:6? What do they say? But what does Jehoshaphat recognize that none of them truly are (1 Kings 22:7), despite the name that they use in 1 Kings 22:11-12? Whom does Ahab know is the only true prophet (1 Kings 22:8)? What does he say about him? How does Jehoshaphat respond? Whom does Ahab call in 1 Kings 22:9? What is the setting in 1 Kings 22:10? What are all the prophets doing? Whose prophesy does 1 Kings 22:11 specifically record? What does he say? Who else is saying this (1 Kings 22:12)? What does the messenger tell Micaiah to do with their words (1 Kings 22:13)? What does he tell Micaiah to let his own word be? But how does Micaiah answer him (1 Kings 22:14)? So who told Micaiah to answer the king the way that he does in 1 Kings 22:15? Who, in 1 Kings 22:16, recognized the sarcastic aping with which Micaiah had mocked the other prophets? What does he tell Micaiah to do instead? Now what does Yahweh tell Micaiah to say (1 Kings 22:17)? How does Ahab respond (1 Kings 22:18)? And how does Yahweh explain what is going on with the other prophets (1 Kings 22:19-23)? What is this meant to accomplish (1 Kings 22:201 Kings 22:23)? What sort of spirit is under the sovereignty of God (1 Kings 22:21-22, cf. Genesis 50:20)? Who claims to speak by the same spirit as Micaiah (1 Kings 22:24)? What will happen to him (1 Kings 22:25)? What does Ahab command to be done with Micaiah (1 Kings 22:26-27)? Until when? What does Micaiah say about this (1 Kings 22:28)? Whom does he urge to take heed of this? Who go where in 1 Kings 22:29? How does Ahab trick Jehoshaphat into thinking that he is honoring him as the lead king (1 Kings 22:30)? What had the king of Syria commanded (1 Kings 22:31)? Whom do they think they have found in 1 Kings 22:32? But what did he do that revealed their mistake? How do they respond in 1 Kings 22:33? Who shoots the arrow in 1 Kings 22:34? At what does he aim? Whom does it strike? Where? Whom does Ahab tell to do what? Now what happened during the day (1 Kings 22:35)? And what happened in the evening? What did the blood fill? What shout went out in 1 Kings 22:36, revealing what circumstance? To where was the dead king brought (1 Kings 22:37)? What did they do with him there? But what happened to his blood, and how (1 Kings 22:38)? According to what word? Who had spoken it (verse 38, but also cf. 1 Kings 21:17–19)? With whom did Ahab lie down in 1 Kings 22:40? Why is this particular instance not a good thing? Who reigned in his place?

How far does the sovereignty of God extend? 1 Kings 22:1–40 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these forty verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the sovereignty of God extends to determining the future, doing good through those who intend and do evil, the suffering of His servants, and the slightest little “coincidences.”

God’s sovereignty extends to determining the future. Ahab is trying to determine the future in 1 Kings 22:3. He mentions the situation with Ramoth Gilead offhand to his servants, so Jehoshaphat can overhear. Then he offers Jehoshaphat the “opportunity” to come to the rescue in 1 Kings 22:4

But Jehoshaphat is accustomed to doing things according to the Word of Yahweh (we’ll learn more about this in the next passage). He asks for the Word in 1 Kings 22:5, but as someone who still has true prophets at his disposal in the South, he immediately recognizes that every one of the four hundred in 1 Kings 22:6 is a false preacher. Elijah is not the sort of prophet that one can summon, but Ahab has one left. But since he preaches convicting sermons that encourage repentance (1 Kings 22:8) rather than those that encourage the king to do what he wants (1 Kings 22:13), Ahab hates him. 

How great is our sinfulness? We will willingly choose four hundred prophets that make us feel good over one who says what is right! But that’s the point in 1 Kings 22:29, isn’t it? Yahweh’s Word determines the future, and Yahweh’s Word tells us what to do. “Take heed, all you people!” 

Indeed, the entire episode fulfills the word which Yahweh had spoken (1 Kings 22:38) through the lips of Elijah in 1 Kings 21:17–19. God’s sovereignty extends to determining the future.

God’s sovereignty extends to doing good, even through those who intend and do evil. The most impactful instance of this is the cross. Never has the good God done more good through evil men and evil devils who were doing evil. Another particularly memorable example of this is summarized in the words of Joseph to his brothers in Genesis 50:20. They intended evil and did evil because they are evil, but the good God had intended the good that He would do even through those events. 

It is good, righteous, that Ahab would fall disastrously (1 Kings 22:201 Kings 22:23). God is the Author of this good—even as it comes by way of an evil spirit that is too happy and willing to be a lying spirit in the prophets’ mouths. That demon is the author of its own evil.

Do we live in a day where false, “encouraging” preachers outnumber faithful ones 400:1? This is under the sovereignty of God, Who righteously brings such calamities upon people who use His Name on worship that mixes in their own ideas. There is a special justness in their being given over to their own false preaching as a judgment for their own false worship. But God is true, even if every man is a liar. 

God’s sovereignty extends to the suffering of his servants. It bears pointing out that Micaiah’s immediate reward for faithfulness is to be cast into prison, with special instructions that every bite of his bread be miserable and every sip of his water be miserable. 

When the servants of Christ, the Suffering Servant, suffer, let them not be surprised. And let them remember that God is both sovereign and good in the midst of it. We may learn much from the prophet who, rather than defending or protesting in his own behalf, responds with one more plea to all of the people to heed his faithful word (1 Kings 22:28). 

God’s sovereignty extends to the slightest little “coincidences.” We put the quotes on the word because how it is commonly used. But the passage gives us stark evidence to remind us that it is the sovereign God Who makes all things to coincide.

Jehoshaphat has gullibly dressed as the only king that day, perhaps even thinking that Ahab is trying to honor him by making him the leader of the joint army. We know from other history that most of the northern army was actually off fighting the Assyrians, so perhaps the king of Judah thought that this was his time to shine. Whatever the case, when he yelps that he’s the king of Judah (1 Kings 22:32), the well-instructed captains (1 Kings 22:31) call off the chase (1 Kings 22:33) and return to the rest of the battle. 

So which of these diligent, well-trained captains gets Ahab? Probably none of them. It’s just “a man” in 1 Kings 22:34. And he’s not even aiming—he just draws his bow at random. And this “randomly” shot arrow just happens to penetrate in between a joint of the royal armor. And where it hits, it just “happened” to get a blood vessel so that the wound is mortal, and the chariot fills with blood. And it needed to be enough blood so that the blood-licking prophecy of 1 Kings 21:19 could be fulfilled. God’s sovereignty extends to the slightest little “coincidences”!

Why must you yield to the reality of God’s sovereign rule over everything that happens? Over what evils have you had difficulty reconciling God’s sovereignty? How does this passage (and the cross!) help? What are some “coincidences” in which God’s sovereignty has been particularly noteworthy to you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for Your sovereign rule in all things. Even when evil spirits and evil men are doing evil, You are good, and You are intending it for good, and You are doing good. Forgive us for all of the sin that would justify You in giving us over to false preachers and false doctrine. Forgive us for responding to conviction with irritation instead of repentance. Forgive us for preferring what we think is “encouraging” to what is true, when those are different things. Forgive us for when we forget that You work all things according to the counsel of Your will. And make us to be faithful, trusting, and humble under Your mighty hand—even as did Micaiah and his Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose Name we pray, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH1A “That Man Is Blest” 

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