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After Asa King of Judah died, his son Jehoshaphat became the next king of Judah. King Jehoshaphat seemed to not want to make the same mistake as his father Asa. He seemed to sincerely be asking God for help, and he set his heart on seeking God.
He too got rid of junky Asherah poles and false-god-worshipping places. He even sent some special officials, Levites, and priests on a trip to all the cities of Judah to teach the people God’s Law.
Jehoshaphat became very wealthy and respected by the people.
But Jehoshaphat made a boo-boo. He decided to be buddies with Ahab. Yes, that Ahab — the wicked King of Israel. Together they decided: “Instead of fighting each other, let’s be a team, partners.” So King Jehoshaphat’s son married wicked King Ahab’s daughter.
One time when King Jehoshaphat went to visit the wicked King Ahab, Ahab asked Jehoshaphat, “Hey, will you go with me to fight against the city of Ramoth Gilead?”
Jehoshaphat answered, “Sure. We’re partners. My people are your people, and my horses are your horses.”
Big no-no! You don’t give away your people and your horses to someone fighting against God! If one person is walking towards God and someone else is walking away from God, how can the two join arms and be a team? They’re going two totally different directions. That just won’t ever work!
“But first,” Jehoshaphat said, “we must ask for God’s help and see what He thinks about this.”
“Okay,” answered Ahab. Then Ahab brought together 400 of his self-picked fake “prophets” and asked them if he should go to war or not.
(It’s great that Jehoshaphat wants to ask God and encourages others to ask God, but maybe Jehoshaphat should have asked Yahweh what He thought before he made this partnership with wicked King Ahab?)
All the self-picked prophets said, “GO, Go, Go, for the mighty one will give you the victory.”
But when Jehoshaphat heard all these “prophets” talk, talk, talking, he recognized that something wasn’t quite right about these “prophets.”
He said, “Wait a minute. Do you not have a prophet of YAHWEH we can ask?”
“Ughhh, alright,“ said Ahab. “Yes, there is still one man that we can ask — Micaiah. But I hate him because he never says anything good about me, only bad.”
Jehoshaphat was shocked! “You should not say that! That’s awful!” he scolded Ahab.
Ahab reluctantly sent a messenger to go get Micaiah. “Micaiah, King Ahab wants you. All the other prophets are saying the king will have victory, so you’d better go to him and say the same thing.”
Micaiah calmly answered, “As long as the Lord lives, I’m only going to say what Yahweh tells me to say.” And off they went.
Once Micaiah arrived, Ahab asked, “Should I go to war against Ramoth Gilead?”
Micaiah said, “Go! You will have victory!” (Micaiah just said the same thing the fake prophets said.)
But when King Ahab heard that he stomped his feet and said, “Micaiah, how many times must I make you promise to tell me the truth?!”
Then Micaiah answered, “Oh, you want the truth now, do you? Well, what I saw was all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Everyone should go home in peace.’” (Meaning that King Ahab was going to die in the battle and leave Israel like sheep with no shepherd.)
Ahab turned to Jehoshaphat and stomped some more, “Ughhh! You see? I told you he never says anything good about me.”
Micaiah continued, “What I really saw in Heaven was Yahweh agreeing to let your prophets be tricked into telling you that you would have victory.”
That made one of the self-picked prophets get so mad that he slapped Micaiah across the face. Then they put him in prison.
You would think that would have stopped King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat from going into battle, but they went anyway. Ahab thought he could protect himself from defeat by hiding. So he told Jehoshaphat to dress up like a king, while he tried to hide by dressing up like a regular soldier. But you can’t hide from God, can you? Even though no one was even aiming at Ahab, a random arrow hit him right in a little bitty gap in his thick armor. He died in battle just like Elijah had told him would happen many years earlier.
Afterwards, when King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned home safely to Jerusalem, a man close to God was there to meet him. The man said to King Jehoshaphat, “Is it right to help the wicked and be buddies with those who hate God? God is angry with you for doing that! But I know you’ve done some good things like getting rid of the Asherah poles and you did set your heart on following God. Those were good choices. But putting yourself on the same team as wicked King Ahab was a bad choice.”
Jehoshaphat had sought God and had encouraged Ahab to do the same. And Jehoshaphat spoke up and corrected Ahab for doing wrong. That’s all good. But just because you encouraged someone to do right or corrected someone for doing wrong… doesn’t give you permission to be buddies and partners with them when they are fighting God.
So even though Jehoshaphat got a lot of things right, it’s not okay to join hearts with people who are not on God’s team. There are always consequences for forming partnerships with people who are not partners with God. You’ll see later in the stories that sad things happen to Jehoshaphat’s children and grandchildren and great grandchildren because of this partnership with Ahab.