Jehoshaphat, faithful king of Judah, and Ahab, wicked king of Israel, sought a word from the Lord. The Syrians occupied Ramoth-Gilead in northeastern Israel. Ahab sought the aid of Jehoshaphat in reclaiming this part of the inheritance of Gad, the Levite city of refuge (Joshua 21:38). It was shameful for Ramoth-Gilead to belong to a foreign people, even if Ahab only wanted to expand his own authority.
But Ahab still limped between the idolatry of his wife and the worship of the Lord. Elijah had brought him to repentance some years before. He recognized that a king should consult the Lord before attempting to retake the city, because all things were in His hands. Therefore, they called together a great assembly of prophets and sat in the gates of Samaria, sitting on their thrones dressed in their royal robes. What a sight it must have been!
And what a powerful and favorable message these four hundred prophets brought to the kings! “Go up, for the Lord will give the city into the hand of the king!” Ramoth-Gilead would belong to Israel again! The kings would return in triumph! Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, who was likely their leader, even made two horns of iron, a strong and powerful symbol that the Lord was with these kings. How could they fail? Four hundred men all said the same thing.
But Jehoshaphat, faithful king of Judah, recognized that something seemed a bit off. Doubtless, it was a pleasant message to hear, and Ahab delighted in hearing it. Nevertheless, he asks “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?” There is indeed another man, Micaiah, son of Imlah. He, however, never speaks a pleasant word. Ahab kept him away intentionally.
At Jehoshaphat’s insistence, however, they call him. Micaiah is even coached beforehand how to respond. How could four hundred prophets be wrong? But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” He wasn’t impressed by the kings sitting in all their splendor. Four hundred prophets all saying the same thing meant nothing. Even when he sarcastically said what the other prophets said, they knew he didn’t mean it. Rather, he faithfully spoke a word of judgment from the Lord. Satan, that lying spirit, had deceived these four hundred men, because it was the will of the Lord to put Ahab to death.
Micaiah spoke a faithful word, even when everyone was against him. He prophesied faithfully, knowing full well it would cost him his life. After all, he was thrown into prison, and the Bible says nothing else about him. He most likely died there. But Ahab, despite his best efforts to avoid the judgment, met his death at Ramoth-Gilead. All Israel was scattered, just as Micaiah had said.
The time will come for all when a faithful Word must be spoken. They will drag you into courts. They will drag you before kings. It may cost you a fine. You may be impoverished for the sake of the Truth. It may cost you your job. You may have to speak a faithful word even against those you know best. But in that hour, do not be afraid, “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:20). Micaiah knew this, and therefore he was not afraid. Even though he stood alone, the Lord of Hosts was with him. Micaiah died speaking the Word faithfully. May we also be ready to leave everything behind—house, job, family, a retirement plan, even our very lives—in search of a better country, that is, a heavenly one.
1 Kings 22:1-40 and 2 Chronicles 18