As the first half of the book of Kings comes to a close, we have two very long stories: one of grace, and another of judgment. The story of grace concerns Syria’s war against Israel. Despite the fact that Israel is living in rebellion to God, and despite the fact that she is ruled by a monarch unique in the eyes of the Lord for devoting himself to do evil (21:25-26), God grants Israel tremendous victory.
The story of judgment is in 1 Kings 22.
Just as important as the story however is the application.
Remember that this book was written some three hundred and fifty years after the event. The nation of Israel is no more. And yet, thus far, it is very much the focal point of this book. In the story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, even though Jehoshaphat does right in asking the advice of a prophet of the Lord, he doesn’t follow that advice. Instead, he follows Ahab. In fact, he submits to Ahab’s authority in a very stupid way, remaining dressed in his royal garments while allowing Ahab to disguise himself as a regular soldier. Why would he allow that? In the end, it cost Jehoshaphat his life.
The message for Judah would be clear. There can be no alliances with those who do not listen to God. God’s people can never be subservient to them. Success can only be found in faithfulness to God.