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Is God on our Side? By Brook Stockton

is god on our side?

 

by Pastor Brook Stockton, Ph.D.

I Kings 22:6-7 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?

_______________________________

 

Both North and South thought God was on their side; Bush thought God was on his side in the War in Iraq. Ahab, King of Israel, thought God was on his side against the Syrians. Deciding whose side God is on is not always easy to determine.

We have here in 1 Kings 22 the proposal by King Ahab to King Jehoshaphat to form an alliance and go to war. Ahab wanted to recapture Ramoth-Gilead, on the hills of Moab east of the capital city of Samaria. The Syrians had control of this strategic fortress and Ahab requested reinforcements for an assault on the city from Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.  Because of Ahab’s many miscreant acts, Jehoshaphat entertained the proposal but expressed reluctance to join forces. Jehoshaphat wanted assurance from the Lord God this joint venture was approved by Him. Everything seemed to favor sending Judah’s troops into battle in this joint military offensive against the weaker Syrians . . . except one.

Notice all the positive reasons Jehoshaphat should order his corps into battle with Ahab.

1.      Property rights were on their side (22:3)

Is there any cause greater for war than property rights? Ramoth-Gilead was part of the promised land that God gave to Israel during the administration of Joshua’s division of the land (Joshua 21:38). They had a right to take it back, didn’t they?

2.      Unity was on their side (22:3)

Two are stronger than one. Syria might prevail against one army, but surely the Arameans could not prevail against two armies on two fronts.

3.      Superior numbers were on their side (22:3)

The combined forces of Israel and the shear numbers of their forces seemed to assure victory against the small military outpost controlled by the armies of Syria. The Syrians did not have their entire army in this region. The majority of the Syrian army was posted in northern and western Syrian. Statistics were on their side.

4.      Tradition was on their side (Exodus 15:3)

Israel’s God was a God of war and who could argue that He was a Warrior for the nation, the irresistible, almighty God of the Hills. Surely, he would fight for Israel. He promised he would (Deuteronomy 20:4).

5.      The prophets were on their side (22:6)

When Ahab summoned the court prophets into his chambers, they assured the king, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king. But, these religious leaders were not prophets of the Lord; they were the powerful, mighty, educated, influential, articulate, persuasive prophets of Baal. How could the intelligentsia of the nation be wrong?

6.      They even had the sacred invocation of God on their side (22:11).

One prophet even invoked the sacred phrase, “thus saith the Lord” to promote the military campaign and assure the two kings of an ultimate, dramatic victory. There was no higher authority that could be invoked than “thus saith the Lord.”

7.      All the king’s advisors were on their side (22:12).

Think of it. There was no descent! No debate. All concurred! All agreed! They spoke with one voice and with such authority, “Go up . . . and prosper.” Oh, the power of unanimity! Oh, the sweetness of the prosperity doctrine. There was only one, small, tiny, slight problem with this plan—God was not on their side in this war!

The two kings sent for Micaiah who had a reputation for speaking the mind of the LORD God. When he arrived, Micaiah knew what the two kings wanted to hear so he sarcastically repeated the advice of the false prophets, “Go up and succeed” (22:15). Knowing Micaiah was bantering with the two kings, Ahab put the prophet under oath and ordered him to “speak the truth in the name of the Lord.” Micaiah, therefore, delivered his message from God. This battle was a death trap for Ahab. He was being lured into it by lies and deceit of the prophets of Baal (22: 17-23). Needless to say, Micaiah contradicted the professional court prophets and shamed them by his predictions. The false prophet, Chenaanah, was so angry, he stepped forward and slapped Micaiah on the face. The rest is history. Ahab and Jehoshaphat went into battle and confronted the small garrison at Ramoth Gilead. Though Ahab used a decoy, he was inadvertently struck by a single arrow and died.

This story shows us how important it is to get the mind of the Lord on decisions—something more easily wished for than attained. All the road signs can line up, but if God isn’t in it, bad things can happen. Someone asked Stonewall Jackson if God was on their side. Jackson replied, “I’m not so concerned about whether God is on our side, but whether we are on His side. At the impending Battle of Bull Run, Jackson offered this prayer:

“Dear Lord, this is your day, you have admonished us to keep it holy. I am ready Lord, your will be done. It is your sword I will wield into battle, it is your banner I will raise against those who will desecrate our land. If it is my time to come, then I will come with all the joy in my heart. Amen.”

 

Is God on our side? If so, how do we know?

_______________

Brook Stockton, Ph.D. Retired Pastor SBC, Retired Professor of Theology, Trinity Southwest University-ABQ. This article may be used for small Bible Studies. For mass production (over 25), please obtain permission for distribution:  PO Box 884, Tijeras, NM 87059: brooks@eaglecorps.org

 

 

is god on our side?

by Pastor Brook Stockton, Ph.D.

I Kings 22:6-7 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?

_______________________________

 

Both North and South thought God was on their side; Bush thought God was on his side in the War in Iraq. Ahab, King of Israel, thought God was on his side against the Syrians. Deciding whose side God is on is not always easy to determine.

We have here in 1 Kings 22 the proposal by King Ahab to King Jehoshaphat to form an alliance and go to war. Ahab wanted to recapture Ramoth-Gilead, on the hills of Moab east of the capital city of Samaria. The Syrians had control of this strategic fortress and Ahab requested reinforcements for an assault on the city from Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.  Because of Ahab’s many miscreant acts, Jehoshaphat entertained the proposal but expressed reluctance to join forces. Jehoshaphat wanted assurance from the Lord God this joint venture was approved by Him. Everything seemed to favor sending Judah’s troops into battle in this joint military offensive against the weaker Syrians . . . except one.

Notice all the positive reasons Jehoshaphat should order his corps into battle with Ahab.

1.      Property rights were on their side (22:3)

Is there any cause greater for war than property rights? Ramoth-Gilead was part of the promised land that God gave to Israel during the administration of Joshua’s division of the land (Joshua 21:38). They had a right to take it back, didn’t they?

2.      Unity was on their side (22:3)

Two are stronger than one. Syria might prevail against one army, but surely the Arameans could not prevail against two armies on two fronts.

3.      Superior numbers were on their side (22:3)

The combined forces of Israel and the shear numbers of their forces seemed to assure victory against the small military outpost controlled by the armies of Syria. The Syrians did not have their entire army in this region. The majority of the Syrian army was posted in northern and western Syrian. Statistics were on their side.

4.      Tradition was on their side (Exodus 15:3)

Israel’s God was a God of war and who could argue that He was a Warrior for the nation, the irresistible, almighty God of the Hills. Surely, he would fight for Israel. He promised he would (Deuteronomy 20:4).

5.      The prophets were on their side (22:6)

When Ahab summoned the court prophets into his chambers, they assured the king, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king. But, these religious leaders were not prophets of the Lord; they were the powerful, mighty, educated, influential, articulate, persuasive prophets of Baal. How could the intelligentsia of the nation be wrong?

6.      They even had the sacred invocation of God on their side (22:11).

One prophet even invoked the sacred phrase, “thus saith the Lord” to promote the military campaign and assure the two kings of an ultimate, dramatic victory. There was no higher authority that could be invoked than “thus saith the Lord.”

7.      All the king’s advisors were on their side (22:12).

Think of it. There was no descent! No debate. All concurred! All agreed! They spoke with one voice and with such authority, “Go up . . . and prosper.” Oh, the power of unanimity! Oh, the sweetness of the prosperity doctrine. There was only one, small, tiny, slight problem with this plan—God was not on their side in this war!

The two kings sent for Micaiah who had a reputation for speaking the mind of the LORD God. When he arrived, Micaiah knew what the two kings wanted to hear so he sarcastically repeated the advice of the false prophets, “Go up and succeed” (22:15). Knowing Micaiah was bantering with the two kings, Ahab put the prophet under oath and ordered him to “speak the truth in the name of the Lord.” Micaiah, therefore, delivered his message from God. This battle was a death trap for Ahab. He was being lured into it by lies and deceit of the prophets of Baal (22: 17-23). Needless to say, Micaiah contradicted the professional court prophets and shamed them by his predictions. The false prophet, Chenaanah, was so angry, he stepped forward and slapped Micaiah on the face. The rest is history. Ahab and Jehoshaphat went into battle and confronted the small garrison at Ramoth Gilead. Though Ahab used a decoy, he was inadvertently struck by a single arrow and died.

This story shows us how important it is to get the mind of the Lord on decisions—something more easily wished for than attained. All the road signs can line up, but if God isn’t in it, bad things can happen. Someone asked Stonewall Jackson if God was on their side. Jackson replied, “I’m not so concerned about whether God is on side, but whether we are on His side. At the impending Battle of Bull Run, Jackson offered this prayer:

“Dear Lord, this is your day, you have admonished us to keep it holy. I am ready Lord, your will be done. It is your sword I will wield into battle, it is your banner I will raise against those who will desecrate our land. If it is my time to come, then I will come with all the joy in my heart. Amen.”

 

Is God on our side? If so, how do we know?

_______________

Brook Stockton, Ph.D. Retired Pastor SBC, Retired Professor of Theology, Trinity Southwest University-ABQ. This article may be used for small Bible Studies. For mass production (over 25), please obtain permission for distribution:  PO Box 884, Tijeras, NM 87059: brooks@eaglecorps.org

 

 

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