1 Kings 22:29-40

Defeat and Death of Ahab

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into the battle, but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into the battle. 31 Now the king of Aram had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Do not fight with small or great, but with the king of Israel alone.” 32 So when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel,” and they turned aside to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.

34 Now a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel [h]in a joint of the armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn [i]around and take me out of the [j]fight; for I am severely wounded.” 35 The battle [k]raged that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot in front of the Arameans, and died at evening, and the blood from the wound ran into the bottom of the chariot. 36 Then a cry passed throughout the army close to sunset, saying, “Every man to his city and every man to his [l]country.”

37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried the king in Samaria. 38 They washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood (now the harlots bathed themselves there), according to the word of the Lord which He spoke. 39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab and all that he did and the ivory house which he built and all the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 40 So Ahab slept with his fathers, and Ahaziah his son became king in his place.

Ahab was determined that he was not going to die in this battle, so he convinces poor Jehoshaphat to wear his robes while Ahab disguised himself. Somehow, Ahab thought God didn’t know the future, or that he could trick God. But it wasn’t God trying to kill Ahab, He merely told Ahab (through Micaiah) what would happen if he went to battle.

It’s a reminder of both our free will and God’s sovereignty rolled up in one. While God knows what will happen, because He is outside of time, and has the power to determine our destiny, He ultimately gives us our own way in this world. Do with it what we may, we cannot surprise God, but at the same time He will not force His will on us. Ahab could have stayed home and lived, but we’ll never know how that might have turned out, because he thought somehow he could do what he wanted, and yet escape the consequences that God had already warned him about.

All our actions have consequences, and often we fall into the same trap. We want to do our own thing, and just have God bless us along the way. But God calls us to live differently, to submit to His will, to do it of our own accord, or not at all, and take the consequences either way. That is our daily choice, and we must indeed make it daily and deliberately.

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