Sunday, April 20, 2014

1 Kings 21-22 Sheep that have no shepherd

From 1 Kings 21-22

1 Ki 21.1-16; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; Naboth’s Vineyard
1 Ki 21.17-24; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; The LORD Condemns Ahab
1 Ki 21.25-29; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; Ahab’s Repentance
1 Ki 22.1-12; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Micaiah; Ahab and the False Prophets
1 Ki 22.13-28; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Micaiah; Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
1 Ki 22.29-40; Jehoshaphat; Ahab; Ahab Killed in Battle
1 Ki 22.41-50; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Ahaziah; Jehoshaphat Reigns in Judah
1 Ki 22.51-53; Jehoshaphat; Ahaziah; Ahaziah Reigns in Israel

Passage and Comments
Elijah's victory still hasn't made its mark on Ahab. Ahab doesn't seem to have enough vineyards of his own and he wants his neighbours. The mans name is Naboth. Naboth refuses to give it to him so Ahab goes and complains to Jezebel who tells him how he can have him killed. Still under the influence of Jezebel, Ahab follows through with Jezebels plan. Naboth is killed and Ahab acquires Naboth's vineyard.

Ahab's actions have not escaped the LORD's notice and the LORD sends Elijah to condemn him. Ahab and his house will die soon. Ahab listened to the prophet who slaughtered 450 prophets of Baal and wisely repented. The LORD acknowledged his repentance and postponed the judgment. He will live longer, but his house will be wiped out after he dies.

At some point Israel and Judah have made peace with one another. Now they join forces against their common foe Syria. They want to take back their land. Our passage picks up with a planning meeting between Ahab and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah.
22 For three years Syria and Israel continued without war. 2 But in the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 3 And the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we keep quiet and do not take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?” 4 And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” (1 Ki 22:1–4)
In a rare show of unity, the king of Judah Jehoshaphat agrees to Ahab's plan to retake their land.
5 And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD.” 6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” (1 Ki 22:5–6)
Jehoshaphat Is faithful to the LORD (1 Ki 22.43) and seeks the LORD's guidance. Somehow Ahab has 400 prophets guiding him. Perhaps they are ex-Baal prophets. Whatever they are, they are not the LORD's and they seem to tell Ahab what they think he wants to hear.
7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” 8 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” 9 Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.” (1 Ki 22:7–9)
Jehoshaphat suspects they are dodgy prophets and asks for someone else. Im not sure what has happened to Elijah or Elisha but the LORD has raised up another. His name is Micaiah. His name has the same ending as Isaiah if you have trouble pronouncing it. Ahab doesn't like Micaiah. Thats a good sign for his authenticity.
10 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’ ” 12 And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” (1 Ki 22:10–12)
The 400 prophets keep about their king pleasing. Getting creative about it as well.
13 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.” (1 Ki 22:13–14)
The messenger tries to influence Micaiah before he comes to Ahab. Micaiah will have none of it. He will relay what the LORD tells him accurately.
15 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” 16 But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” (1 Ki 22:15–16)
But then he doesn't. What the?!? Ahab knows something must be up. This isn't his normal Micaiah. Micaiah must of got sick of Ahab always rejecting the LORD's words. Rejecting the LORD. I wonder if Micaiah just gave up based on earlier experiences. But, Ahab persists.
17 And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’ ” 18 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” 19 And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; 20 and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. (1 Ki 22:17–20)
Ahab will die. This is not good news for their planning meeting. Ahab will die. Presumably they will lose the battle. Jehoshaphat's fate is unknown. Micaiah goes into more detail describing what happened in the LORD's planning meeting. Ahab will be enticed to go into battle and there he will die.

Ahab is enticed. He tries to disguise himself so he isn't recognised in battle. When the fighting commences Syria's troops recognise Jehoshaphat but avoid him. They cannot see Ahab. But a random God sent arrow strikes Ahab and he bleeds to death.

Story of Israel
Micaiah has told more of Israel's story that is revealed in this passage. She has abandoned the LORD as her shepherd more times than she cares to know about. David acknowledged the LORD is his shepherd (Ps 23.1) and the LORD promises to return and tend his flock to Isaiah (40.9-11). Perhaps the most prominent scripture describing Israel's want of a faithful shepherd and the LORD's promise to take care of Israel is in Ezekiel 34.1-16. The judgment ends with the LORD promising;
16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. (Eze 34.16)
Story of Jesus
Jesus spoke of this worlds need of a shepherd. Someone to look after and guide them in the following;
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ” (Mt 9:35-36)
Jesus took up the role as our shepherd.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (Jn 10.7-11)
Jesus Christ is the shepherd promised. The LORD has come to tend his flock.