1 Kings 22:32-34a When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out, the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him. But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armour.
This episode demonstrates the truth of the saying, “Man proposes, but God disposes”. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, had decided to join forces with Ahab, King of Israel, against Aram (Syria). This was NOT a wise move, since wicked Ahab was, typically, seeking his spiritual guidance from the prophets of Baal instead of the prophets of the LORD (verses 7-8).
Ahab must have had a bit of a pang of conscience about this because he played on the pride of Jehoshaphat to convince him to ‘wear the royal robes’ for the battle while he himself wore a disguise (30). This was Jehoshaphat’s second bad move, since the King of Aram had ordered his men to target only the King of Israel (31). So, due to his foolishness and pride, everything was stacked against Jehoshaphat. But the purposes of the Sovereign LORD can never be thwarted in spite of our disobedience and foolishness.
It is interesting that the narrator of this account uses the phrase ‘at random’ (lit. ‘in innocence’) to describe the action of the Syrian bowman! From the LORD’s perspective there was nothing ‘random’ about the trajectory of this particular arrow – it hit its mark and claimed Ahab’s life, just as the LORD’s prophet, Micaiah, had ‘predicted’ (verses 15-23 can seem a bit confusing, but it is clear from verse 18 that Ahab had correctly understood Micaiah’s ‘prediction’ in verse 17 as sarcasm). It is both sobering and comforting to know that our God is in control of every part of our lives in spite of our frailty and the sinfulness of our hearts.
As we read in scripture so many examples of God’s sovereign intervention in human affairs, we share the confidence that the Apostle Paul had: “And we KNOW that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to HIS purpose.” (Romans 8:28); and we can identify with Joseph’s comforting words to his less-than-helpful brothers: “YOU intended to harm me, but GOD intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20). As I strive constantly to align my life, my attitudes and actions, with God’s will, and as I all too often fail, it is good to know that HE remains faithful at the wheel of my life.
– Bruce Christian