2 Chronicles 18

2 Chronicles 18
by Pastor David Groendyk

This account of King Jehoshaphat going to war alongside of King Ahab is largely unchanged from the account found in 1 Kings 22. However, whereas Ahab was the main focus in Kings, Jehoshaphat is the main focus in Chronicles. King Jehoshaphat on the whole is evaluated as a good king of Judah who led the people to the Lord rather than away from the Lord, but the prophet Jehu (not to be confused with the other Jehu who became king of Israel) condemns Jehoshaphat for joining Ahab (see 2 Chr. 19:1–3). This continues one of the themes we’ve seen all throughout this book: the kings are imperfect, hypocritical sinners, yet God remains faithful to the descendants of David for the sake of his covenant so that Christ would come from the line of David and save his people and reign forever. It is a tremendous assurance to us to know that we have the covenant promises and that our God will always adamantly keep them.

We can also gain much practical wisdom from this chapter. Notice the different “heroes” and “villains” (so to speak) in the chapter. Jehoshaphat is a hero; Ahab is a villain. Jehoshaphat desires greatly and sees the importance of inquiring of the Lord for his wisdom in going to battle. And not just inquiring through any ol’ prophet, but a true prophet of Yahweh (v. 6). Ahab has no desire to hear from the Lord but merely wants his lackies to affirm the decision he’s already made. Micaiah is another hero; the other 400 prophets are villains. Micaiah is committed to speaking the truth, whatever the Lord says to him, despite a sea filled with “yes men” who only want to boost the king’s ego and save their own skin (v. 13). As I write this, I’m sitting in an airport with a fellow pastor from our presbytery, and he used the phrase “holy courage” to describe these men. What holy courage Micaiah had to stand up boldly for the Lord and speak the truth despite the risk to his own life. May each one of us have this same holy courage to speak the truth when necessary and called upon!

Finally, this chapter is famous (or infamous) for verses 18–22 and God sending a lying spirit into the mouths of the 400 prophets. What do we make of this? Is God acting contrary to his nature? Is he behaving evilly? By no means! This event is actually wholly consistent with God’s character. The lying spirit and false prophets, according to one commentator, “were God’s agents of judgment on Ahab’s persistent rebellion against God’s ways.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:10–12, Paul talks about unbelievers as those who “refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” One of God’s judgments upon people who consistently refuse to listen to and believe the clear presentation of the gospel is to delude them even more so that they would spiral even further and not believe. What a severe warning for us to always listen when God is speaking! Perhaps this is what we’re seeing in the culture today as the world continues to reject God’s Word and seems to be spiraling out of control.

What, then, is the solution? For God to open eyes and soften hearts. If God is the one who blinds and deludes, then God is the one who must give sight and clarity. The ultimate solution is not to invent a new method of evangelizing or to change the message we preach or to fight even harder against the culture. We must pray for God’s grace upon those who are hardened in their sin. May we pray with ever more fervency and earnestness and love and compassion to our God to open eyes and make people receptive to his Word!