In our everyday lives, we often enquire information regarding things we are not sure of. In today’s information age, information is readily available everywhere: Google, Youtube, Facebook etc. As a new parent, I have found myself going to Google and Youtube to enquire about various aspects of child care e.g. how to bathe a baby; how to pacify a baby etc. etc. However, one problem that comes with the myriad of information we possess is filtering to find the right information, because different sources will provide different and conflicting information.
In the passage of 1 Kings 22:2-23, we read of king Jehoshaphat, who was called by king Ahab to help him fight and reclaim the city of Ramoth-Gilead. However, Jehoshaphat wanted to stop first to enquire. Ahab had with him 400 of his prophets, who all encouraged Ahab to go and fight, because he would win the battle. Interestingly, Jehoshaphat was not satisfied with Ahab’s source of information, and wanted to find a real prophet of God. Ahab knew of another prophet, Micaiah, but Ahab hated him because he never had anything good to say concerning Ahab. However, Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from Micaiah.
The Difficulty of Enquiring
Jehoshaphat wanted to enquire from God, but the available source of information came from fake sources. This false source was not only available, but plentiful: 400 of them. Furthermore, they all said exactly what Ahab wanted to hear. In contrast, the right source of information was not as readily available. Someone had to go look for Micaiah. Furthermore, he was just one man, versus the 400 prophets that Ahab had. Moreover, his information was not pleasing to the ear.
Today, the same difficulty exists when we try to find answers concerning spiritual matters. Try to search “How to be saved” on Google, and you will find more than a billion results. However, different sources will give you different answers, and most will give you a wrong answer. As the apostle John warned before: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Unfortunately, many will be satisfied with an answer that pleases their ears, even if it is the wrong answer (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
The Importance of Enquiring
Despite the difficulty in enquiring for the right information, king Jehoshaphat was insistent on doing so, because he recognized the importance of enquiring, and to enquire from the right source. Jehoshaphat’s forefather, king David, was one who likewise understood the importance of enquiring. David would often enquire in order to seek permission from God whether to proceed with the battle or not (cf. 1 Samuel 23:2). There were times that David enquired to seek instruction on how he ought to proceed (cf. 2 Samuel 5:23). Most importantly, David enquired to seek God’s help in the battle (cf. 1 Samuel 23:4). Because Jehoshaphat enquired, he was successful in his endeavours; however, Ahab failed and ultimately perished in the battle because of his failure to enquire rightly.
It is important for us to enquire for the same reasons that king David and Jehoshaphat did. We need to enquire so as to obtain God’s permission, and to do all things in accordance to Jesus’ authority (Colossians 3:17). We need to enquire to seek instruction from God on how we may order our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:3). Above all, we need to enquire to seek God’s help in all our endeavours, for without God, we can achieve nothing (Psalm 127:1; Philippians 4:13).
The Process of Enquiring
Unlike Jehoshaphat, we no longer need to seek a prophet like Micaiah to enquire from God. We can enquire from God through prayer, through our mediator Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus provides direct access to the Father through Him, and we can therefore “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Furthermore, we can ask God for wisdom in dealing with the difficulties of this life (James 1:5). Therefore, we ought to pray with diligence: frequently and persistently (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1-8). We ought to pray with humility, acknowledging our faults and our need for God’s help (Luke 18:9-14).
We can enquire from God also by searching from God’s word. We can find God’s commandments and authority from His Word (1 Corinthians 14:37). We can find God’s wisdom to help us in His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 19:7). Therefore, we need to search God’s Word diligently and frequently (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15). We need to search God’s word with humility, with a readiness to accept His rebuke and correct our faults (James 1:21).
Despite the difficulty in enquiring, king Jehoshaphat persisted, because he knew the importance of enquiring for the right information from God; hence, Jehoshaphat succeeded in his deeds. In contrast, King Ahab was content to listen to the wrong source of information, and hence failed and perished. Let us be as Jehoshaphat, to be diligent and humble in enquiring from God, through constant prayer and study of His Word.