This chapter kind of retreats back a little bit and tells a story about when Jehoshaphat was still ruling in Judah. Remember in the last chapter of 1 Kings when it mentioned that Jehoshaphat had made peace with the king of Israel? We already read one story about Jehoshaphat joining Ahab in a war, but that statement at the end of 1 Kings sure made me wonder if there was more to the story. This chapter verifies that there was! Now, Ahab’s son, Joram, is certainly a chip off the ol’ block, and he recognizes the importance of having Judah as an ally. Joram reminds me of one of those people who changes his tone a little when he’s in Jehoshaphat’s presence because he knows God is watching. Do you know these people? I have friends I’ve known all my life, people who I’ve drunk a few beers with and so on, if you get my drift, but because I joined missions way back when, today when they see me, all they talk to me about is going to church. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super glad they’re going to church, but I’m certainly no person to impress with confessions. I just want to have a conversation like we did back in the good ‘ol days, minus the beer drinking because I’m old and can’t hack it anymore. Let’s just catch up! Joram is kind of that way around Jehoshaphat. If King Joram would have been on the battle field with just the king of Edom, do you think he really would have said, “What should we do? The Lord has brought the three of us here to let the king of Moab defeat us.” That statement was directed directly at Jehoshaphat. King Joram was basically saying, “Ask your God what’s going on!” Because he knew God would give them the answer, but sadly, he was too proud and stubborn to accept that he could just do it himself.
Elisha makes me laugh a little. He’s a little over the top, isn’t he? “Bring me someone who can play the harp.” There the troops are, mighty soldiers, camping out on the brink of war, and Elisha says, “Create an alluring ambience for me, and I’ll let you know what the Lord says.” His predictions, however, were spot on, and I marvel at how God used this opportunity to show King Joram and the king of Edom that He is real and listening and working in favor of peace and unity. The last sentence, though, gave me some chills. “So there was great anger against Israel, and the Israelites withdrew and returned to their own land.” This happened after the king of Moab burned his own heir to the throne on the castle wall. We don’t really know if this was some sort of sacrifice to a god in an attempt to win the battle or if it was some desperate act by the king to not have his entire lineage captured and tortured or killed.
Writing prompt: the sacrifice
What’s your opinion about the king of Moab’s sacrifice? Write about why you think he did it.