Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First, seek the counsel of the LORD.”
I Kings 22:3
It is good to seek the Lord’s counsel, but what happens once He speaks and we don’t like what He says?
Ahab, the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, were about to embark on a risky venture. Syria had taken Ramoth from Israel. It was only fair that Ahab should take it back and if Jehoshaphat would join forces with him victory was assured. The plan sounded good.
Ahab paraded his prophets before the king of Judah. With a unified voice they said, “Go to it. You are bound to win!” That was exactly what Ahab wanted to hear. But Jehoshaphat rightly suspected that the prophets were only saying that because Ahab paid their wedges so he requested a real prophet of God be called. Micaiah wasn’t on Ahab’s payroll and he spoke the truth predicting failure and death.
This was advice no one really wanted to hear. Not even Jehoshaphat. He had asked that the prophet be called, but now that he knew what God had to say the future didn’t look nearly as bright as it had moments before. There was money to be made on his deal with Ahab and the war plans looked solid enough on the surface. In the end, Jehoshaphat brushed aside the words of the prophet choosing instead to follow his personal desires and his friends.
The kings went to battle and as Micaiah had predicted Ahab was killed and it took direct intervention from God to get Jehoshaphat back home beaten and humiliated but safe.
I would like to think I am not like Jehoshaphat. But I know better. There have been times when I asked the will of the Lord then either disobeyed or argued because I didn’t like His answer. Perhaps you remember those times, too. Have you ever looked back and moaned, “Why didn’t I obey? Why couldn’t I see how badly this would turn out? Or, lamented, ‘How different my life would have been if I had listened to His voice!”
We can’t turn back the clock or erase decisions we wish we had not made. But, there is one thing we can do: We can resolve to follow His voice today. We have no guarantees for tomorrow but we can confess yesterday’s failures, accept that He has put them as far from us as the East is from the West, then turn our faces toward tomorrow with renewed hope knowing that whatever He commands, He also provides power to perform. Our only responsibility is to obey when we know His voice. Even when the voice is contrary to our desires and plans.