The Incredible Power Of Bad Influence To Stupidity
1 Kings 22:28 – And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.
1 Kings 22:29 – So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.
1 Kings 22:30 – And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
Hello readers, today we want to see from God’s word just how stupid we can be when we have the wrong people in our lives influencing our lives. Really this blog is about the power of bad influence. There’s plenty of back story for you to read in 1 Kings 22, and I strongly suggest reading this chapter in its entirety. I can’t say it better than the Bible says it, and this chapter really is quite incredible.
I’ve been thinking about doing a blog on “will God’s word make a shred of difference to what you do?”, because in this chapter, a good king, a godly king by the name of Jehoshaphat hears God’s word, and so do they all, and yet it makes no difference to him and what he is going to do. We find out that Jehoshaphat is influenced against the clear teaching of God’s word, and the clear warning of God’s word… all because he’s become mates with a guy called Ahab, who’s influence to dispute, disregard and disobey God’s word is much greater than the directive of God’s word.
So today I want to briefly focus on the immense power of bad influence. Because in this chapter, Jehoshaphat hangs out with Ahab, two kings of two kingdoms chilling together. Evidently, they hit it off, and hit it off big, because their instant friendship goes places in a hurry. They not just get along and like each other’s company, but they want to do stuff together, they team up with a “common goal”. And Jehoshaphat makes a league… a bad league, a bad alliance with a man he really shouldn’t be spending any time with, much less throwing his lot in with. And Jehoshaphat is brought under Ahab’s influence from the moment he meets him… an influence which would have cost him his life if not for divine mercy and deliverance.
Just like us and just like Jehoshaphat did here… when we get to know ungodly people, we find out that they’re “not that bad”. The mortal enemy of God and your soul can be a lot less of an enemy when you get to know them. In fact, you may kinda like them… a lot. Just like Israel, who kept marrying into the nations around them, because their sons and daughters figured “they’re not that bad”, “they’re just like us” and “they worship our God too”. So despite the facts about who Ahab was, Ahab having just been complicit in the murder of a man and his family to get his land… Jehoshaphat makes a new friend! But he’s being stupid. And one stupid move can plunge us into a world of stupid. Because it’s stupid move after stupid move in this chapter. I mean, Jehoshaphat doesn’t even realize Ahab is just using him. He’s so taken with his new friend he can’t even see who he really is, what he’s really about, and what’s really going on.
The fact is, Ahab becomes friends with Jehoshaphat not because he’s interested in him and his best… but because Ahab needs something from him for himself. He’s not a real friend, but he’s not stupid, he does not look a gift horse in his mouth. He USES Jehoshaphat, who has no idea what’s going on, because he’s in his little stupid world now.
Ahab wants a city back that the Syrians have taken called Ramoth, which is in Gilead. Interesting fact… the city “Ramoth” was one of the cities of refuge, it was a special city with a special purpose in God’s law. Maybe Jehoshaphat realized it’s significance and that’s why he wanted to recapture it. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose that he wants it back for a godly reason. But what he doesn’t understand is that Ahab doesn’t want it for a godly reason, but for a selfish reason. See, you get involved with bad people and you might think you’ve got similar motives and goals and so on in life… you may see commonality… but it doesn’t exist. Jehoshaphat couldn’t see it, but that’s because he was under the power of influence. We need sight that we don’t have. And when Jehoshaphat got the sight of God’s word from Micaiah, he rejected that, because it was not what he wanted to see. But God saw better than him.
What we know about who Ahab really was is that he was an ungodly, wicked, selfish king… nothing he did was based around honouring God and his word. He was about advancing himself and getting what he wanted for himself aka what an unsaved and unrepentant person naturally does. Jehoshaphat didn’t even realize evidently that Ahab had no regard for the city beyond that it was about expanding his borders and strengthening himself militarily. So what might appear as a shared pursuit really had two very different motives and goals. Jehoshaphat was in dangerous territory getting involved with a man he didn’t know like he thought he did, nor who did things for the same reasons he did. Maybe he even thought he could influence Ahab to be better? But the only person being influenced was Jehoshaphat, who began to trade in wisdom and prudence for folly and stupidity.
Just read this chapter thinking about the power of influence. Because Ahab’s influence on Jehoshaphat’s life makes Jehoshaphat a completely different person to who you read about elsewhere. This good, godly, and wise king becomes this disobedient dumb sucker. And if you read Psalm 1 and Proverbs 1, you’re going to immediately see how prominent the power of influence is in your life, one way or another. It is vital to get bad influences out your life is if you are saved. The prosperity of your walk with God is contingent on sanctification, which is being separated from this world UNTO Christ. Which means there are people you don’t need to buddy with and there are things you don’t need to do and places you do not need to go in life. If the stupid young man wasn’t walking by her corner, he wouldn’t have ended up in hell in Proverbs 7.
But this blog is about the stupidity of Jehoshaphat. And there a two main stupid things we want to see and learn from. Please note, this is not to call Jehoshaphat stupid or diminish from the good and godly king he was… but instead so that we can get a bit of wisdom for our own lives and not make the same mistakes he did. Bearing in mind wisdom is not about being a know it all, but being able to recognize when we don’t know it all and receiving what we need to know when we need to know it.
So the first of two things we want to take away from this is that Jehoshaphat disobeyed God’s word. Simple huh. But if you read this chapter, it’s not as obvious as that. Because he looks pretty great, because he sees Ahab’s false prophets, and knows something ain’t right. You know, if something ain’t right… maybe you should get out of there. Why did Jehoshaphat hang around? He ignored that little voice that said in him… something’s wrong here. Never ignore that Holy Spirit warning in your life who tells you to run, even if the danger isn’t extremely overt just yet.
And so Jehoshaphat knows something doesn’t sound right, and he wants to get a second opinion… God’s opinion from God’s word. That sounds good doesn’t it? But the problem is… that’s all it was. Because when Ahab does reluctantly drag a man of God out who’s been imprisoned by him because he never tells Ahab what he wants to hear… and Jehoshaphat hears what God’s word says… guess what? He doesn’t obey it. God’s word makes zero difference to what he is going to do. That’s what’s stupid. It’s all well and good saying you want to honour God and obey God… but if you have no intention of actually doing that, there’s nothing to it. Many people, as Jesus said, honor God with their lips but their heart is far from him. You’d think hearing God’s word, and a very serious message from God it was, you’d think that would have “about faced” Jehoshaphat. But it didn’t! God’s word of warning did not deter him, nor alter the path he was on.
I think one thing that I saw in this chapter is that Ahab really knew how to manipulate the situation here. Because he points to the city saying… wouldn’t God want us to take this city back? Hey, we’re doing a good thing, a godly thing! Ahab sold it pretty well, he knew the levers to pull. So Jehoshaphat is able to rationalize dismissing God’s word from Micaiah… because he’s serving God in doing what he does in his mind. Get it? Get the contradiction? How many of us disobey God in the name of honoring and obeying God? We are all guilty of it. But the truth remains, like us, Jehoshaphat didn’t know how to honor God more than God’s word says how to honor him. Going back home was the less “sexy” of the options though wasn’t it. After all that investment of time and the excitement of teaming up… just to be told to go home because this whole party is a joke? Nah can’t do that sir.
So we know that Jehoshaphat wanted to ask God if they should go up. But the real question was unasked, yet answered by Micaiah. Jehoshaphat should’ve asked a far more important question to begin with. Instead of “should we go up to Ramoth”, the question should have been “should I be hanging out and friends with this guy?” And think about it, should he really honestly be planning his life with Ahab? They were consulting together about what they were going to do. That’s crazy. Why is Ahab part of his decision making process, why is he privvy to where he has no business being in Jehoshaphat’s life? Why has Jehoshaphat invited him in? Why should Ahab be part of dictating what he does and where he goes?
Let’s not forget, Ahab was an enemy of God’s word, Ahab had proved that abundantly in his life… so what on earth is Jehoshaphat doing with him? Jehoshaphat should’ve kept his distance. But Jehoshaphat got close to him, he got to know him… and then guess what… Ahab seemed a lot less of an enemy when he got to know and understand him just a bit. When you get to know someone, they’ll change your mind about them, because they won’t seem so bad anymore. Satan is a way better negotiator than you are, he will win at the negotiation table with you every time. He can talk you into anything and out of anything if you get close enough. We can’t even spot the plain, and yet he excels in subtlety. You are not match for Satan in what you see and what you think.
So Jehoshaphat said he wanted to honor God and hear God’s word… but when he heard God’s word, he disregarded and disobeyed it. That’s stupid. It’s stupid for God’s word not to make any difference to what we are going to do. The whole point of having God’s word is so that it makes a difference to what we do and don’t do. God’s word should alter our direction, it should direct our life. It should be the voice we hear and obey. But instead, Jehoshaphat is now more influenced by Ahab than directed by God’s word… which is stupid. And he makes an utterly stupid decision on his own, because he’s so smart and religious and well meaning… to go to a battle which God has just said is designed to kill Ahab. Why be part of that? Why go to a battle God had just told you that you are going to lose and people are going to die?
But here’s what my blog has been ultimately leading to. If you’ve made it this far, this is the cherry on top. Because of all the stupidity… this takes the cake. Just read what was quoted at the start of the blog, and if you don’t see it, maybe re-read it. See what Ahab does here? He gets Jehoshaphat to dress up in his kingly robes while he himself goes out into the battle in disguise. Now ask yourself… why does Ahab do that? Here’s your answer. Because Ahab wants the archers to aim at Jehoshaphat… not him! And guess what, Jehoshaphat agrees! Stupid! “Oh yeah Ahab, I’ll go out into battle all dressed up so they aim for me.” Yeah I’ll take the bullet for you Ahab. How’s worthless Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat that he’s worth it? And you’ve surely gotta know that every soldier in the Syrian army would target the guy dressed as king? Killing a king would get you a name and notoriety and reward. It’s open season on the king!
Ahab was setting Jehoshaphat up here. He was using him literally as a meat shield. Jehoshaphat had more to lose, and he’s willing to lose… just because he’s so mates with Ahab? And I wonder what is more stupid. Doing it knowingly or unknowingly? If he didn’t know, how did he not figure this out? Did the penny not drop when he’s dressed up like a king basically going out there with a bullseye on his back for the Syrian army… and Ahab is there dressed like an ordinary foot soldier hiding somewhere in the back? If he did know what Ahab was doing… why go through with it? How could he justify it? Because I can’t justify it. I would surely have said, me being the selfish guy I am, how about you lead the battle in king’s robes and I go in disguise? I would rather you die for me, not me die for you Ahab.
Yeah, all pretty stupid hey. Look, maybe I’ve lost you, maybe you have gotten something out of this. But the power of influence, and the power to be influenced stupid is crazy in this chapter. Jehoshaphat is not thinking straight, he’s not making good or godly decisions because Ahab is in his life. And because Jehoshaphat is on the bad path that started with one stupid move, everything else on that stupid path is stupid too. To short circuit this garbage, he should have just cut ties with Ahab. Ahab wasn’t even a proven friend… what had Ahab done for Jehoshaphat ever? Ahab had not proven himself a deserving and trustworthy ally, much less a godly ally, even less a godly man. Just the previous chapter he’d been part of a disgusting murder of an innocent man and his family just to steal his land. Oh, but Ahab was reformed now… he was going quietly after getting busted for what he’d done. He’d cleaned his life up a bit and got on the “straight and narrow” a bit… and now he’s even hanging out with Christians like Jehoshaphat. But really the old dog was still the same old dog.
I think the sad part in this is that Jehoshaphat gave preference to Ahab over Micaiah. Read about Micaiah in this chapter… what a man of God. What courage. What faith. He popped out of prison only to go right back there. But he faithfully delivered God’s word, though unpopular though not wanted, though not received, though thoroughly rejected. Jehoshaphat took Ahab over Micaiah and the word of God. Nuts hey. He thought him and Ahab were the same… oh and they know more than Micaiah do they… but he had no clue what he was doing. But I thought about the times I’ve taken an Ahab over a Micaiah… how disgusting. Man it would be far better to stand with God’s word than on the side against it. It’s better to stand with the people of God than with Ahab. It’s better to be with truth than with lies. But look at the influence from Jehoshaphat’s new friend… he’s now siding against God’s word after starting by saying he wanted to hear it.
So from this, let us all evaluate who we allow in our lives. What voices and influences are in our lives? Because the wrong influence can set you on the path of stupidity that Jehoshaphat experienced here. None of us are greater than the power of influence. Just look at the chain reaction of bad decisions in this chapter. The Bible talks so much about influence in Proverbs, friends you keep, who you hang out with, who you get involved with… for a reason. Bad influence ruining lives is all through the Bible. Do not underestimate the power of bad influence… because bad influence took Jehoshaphat to a losing battlefield, far away from where he should be, where he belonged and who he belonged with. He only did not die in battle because God spared him miraculously. He had the circuit breaker, but he disobeyed God’s word. If you need the circuit broken… get back to the Bible and to the cross of Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. If you’re not saved, get saved today. But in this chapter, Jehoshaphat is a warning to every single Christian of the path of bad influence that we can but should urgently spare to tread.
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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