Author Marilynne Robinson wrote in her novel Housekeeping: “Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. Those outside can watch you if they want, but you need not see them. You simply say, ‘Here are the perimeters of our attention. If you prowl around under the windows till the crickets go silent, we will pull the shades. If you wish us to suffer your envious curiosity, you must permit us not to notice it.’ Anyone with one solid human bond is that smug, and it is the smugness as much as the comfort and safety that lonely people covet and admire.”
One might wish that Jehoshaphat could discriminate between solid friendships and those based only on flimsy appearances. The successful king of Judah agreed to go to war with Ahab solely on the bases of a marriage alliance and the gift of a few sacrificed sheep (vv. 1–2). As we’ve seen already in our study of 2 Chronicles, Jehoshaphat really had no reason to align himself with this wicked king—he should have known that God was more powerful than any alliance.
Jehoshaphat did have enough wisdom to ask for the word of the Lord before going to war. Being under the judgment of God, Ahab accepted the words of the false prophets (vv. 4–6). He rejected the true prophet of God because Micaiah spoke the revelation of God’s counsel in heaven, and declared disaster for Ahab. In contrast, by placing his faith in the Lord, Jehoshaphat was saved on the battlefield whereas Ahab received a deathblow (vv. 28–34).
The text makes clear that God was at work during the battle. Jehoshaphat survived not because of his military cunning but because God delivered him. God still answers today when we cry out to Him.
To whom are you listening for wise counsel and advice? Do you choose to watch or read preachers who promise that you can have your best life now just because it makes you feel better? Or do you hear and learn from preachers and teachers who value the whole counsel of God and seek to share the truth of God’s Word?