So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; God drew them away from him. For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” And the battle continued that day, and the king of Israel was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening. Then at sunset he died. II Chronicles 18:28-34 ESV
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 ESV
There’s an old story about a king who heard a prophecy that his baby daughter would someday marry the son of a certain slave girl. So the king had the slave girl killed, and left her infant son to die. However, the baby boy survived and was raised by a kind old woman. Years later the king discovered that the son was still alive, and he made him one of his bodyguards in hopes that he would die in this service. But the young man was strong and brave, and he always survived whatever happened to him. The king’s daughter had lost her mother, and had been sent to live in another part of the kingdom. The king sent a message to the people who had been raising his daughter. He sent it by the young man, and the message said that the person who delivered the message should be put to death. However, the king’s daughter saw the handsome young man and fell in love with him, so she changed the message to say that he should marry the princess! So the son of the slave girl and the king’s daughter were married, just as the prophecy had said. Nothing the king did could change this fate.
Ahab thought he could trick God and overcome the prophecy that he would die in the battle by disguising himself as an ordinary soldier. He told Jehoshaphat to dress in his royal robes. The king of Syria told his soldiers that he only wanted King Ahab, and didn’t want to kill anyone else. So all his soldiers surrounded King Jehoshaphat with their chariots and tried to kill him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and God helped him. The soldiers realized that this wasn’t King Ahab, so they moved away. One of them just shot a random arrow into the air, and it hit King Ahab in a joint in his armor. The arrow went into Ahab’s body and wounded him, and by evening he died of his wound. He couldn’t trick God or escape from the prophecy by his disguise.
There was one way that Ahab could have escaped from this prophecy of judgment and punishment. God is good and merciful, and willing to forgive. But Ahab was stubborn and wouldn’t listen to God’s warning. He continued into the battle even though it wasn’t in God’s plan for him to fight and win that battle. No one will ever escape God’s judgment by trying to trick God, but God himself gave us a way to escape judgment. He sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus took all our sins on himself on the cross. We can always count on God’s mercy and forgiveness because of what Jesus did for us. This is the way to escape God’s judgment and have life forever with God.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and giving us Jesus so that our sins could be forgiven and we can be your children always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.