1 Kings 22:41-53 slowly and repeatedly.
Main content of the text: Continuing from chapter 15, news from Judah is delivered again. After the overall evaluation of Jehoshaphat ‘s 25 years’ rein, the evaluation of Ahaziah, the king of Israel, is contrasted.
Verses 43, 46 Unlike Ahab, who tried to avoid ‘the eyes of God’ (22:30), Jehoshaphat is evaluated as having done what was right in the ‘eyes of God.’ Following his father’s example, he did not deviate from the path (“not turning back”) and lived conscious of God’s gaze until his death. Although he did not abolish the high places, leaving behind a spark of idolatry, and made the mistake of participating in the war with Ahab as he had decided after hearing Micaiah’s prophecy, he led religious reform (2 Chronicles 1 – 7-20), which was half of his life receives positive reviews. Even if he is not perfect, let us seek to live a life where he is praised as ‘well done, good and faithful servant’.
Verses 44,45 Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, established peaceful relations with northern Israel during his reign. Of course, this was because Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram and Ahab’s daughter Athaliah were married, but because Jehoshaphat stood upright before God, he would have avoided war or strife against his brother’s kingdom. His defeat in the battle against Aram allied with Northern Israel must have been a great lesson for him.
Verses 47-49 Jehoshaphat rules over Edom like Solomon and attempts to resume trade with Ophir, which was popular during Solomon’s time, by using the port of Ezion Geber in Edom (9:26-28), but ships are shipwrecked in the port. As a result, he have never been able to go to Ophir. Solomon brought a foreigner skilled in navigation on board the ship of the unified kingdom of Israel (9:27), but Jehoshaphat refused to let sailors from northern Israel on board the ship. It was a time of peace, but the limitations of a divided kingdom could not be overcome. This is because the complete restoration of Israel is possible only through unity and reconciliation.
Verses 52, 53 Ahaziah is evaluated as a king who did evil “in the sight of the Lord.” Since they worshiped a greedy idol called Baal, God would not have noticed them. What he could see were his father Ahab and his mother Jezebel. Following the path his parents took, he committed all kinds of evil, causing the people to sin and making the Lord, the God of Israel, angry. What kind of faith model are we modeling for our children and others?
Community Prayer – Lord, help us always live before God so that we may be evaluated as good people before God on the last day.
Prayer for the nations – Peace in Gaza and for the fighting to stop and aid to be brought into support those caught in the middle. Pray for God’s protection over those who are vulnerable, those helping to be free and protect others. Pray for the leaders to have more wisdom, integrity and softer hearts. Pray for the people of Gaza and the nations involved.