Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” He answered him, “I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” ~ (2 Chron. 18:3-6)
This is an interesting story to say the least, but let’s look at it for the purpose of viewing three (3) applications for godly manhood.
1. Godly Men Are Uniters, Not Dividers.
Even though King Ahab is far from the godly example of Jehoshaphat, he would be our example of someone who left the faith. Nonetheless, Jehoshaphat sees that they are neighbors, originally of the same covenant, and brothers. Therefore, godly manhood recognizes the greater good and hopes to quell division. As Jesus stated, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” (Matt 5:9). Israel and Judah had been at war for generations, since Jeroboam and Rehoboam.
Ahab was an interesting character to say the least. As the Scriptures reveal, “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). Yet, when he humbled himself before God with weeping and sackcloth, God saw his heart and delivered him (1 Kings 21:29). It is most likely that his evil wife led him astray. Regardless, perhaps Jehoshaphat saw the same heart? Either way, a godly man is one who wants to unite people, not bring division. In a way that we may apply this—how do we conduct our business—by trying to rule and reign over people or do we seek input and advice? People who are good leaders know how to unite people.
2. Godly Manhood Seeks Prayer Before All Things.
Ahab’s desire to convince Jehoshaphat to engage in a war with Ramoth-gilead doesn’t trump Jehoshaphat’s faith in the LORD. A godly man knows that God orders his steps and he is content with walking in those steps.[i] Jehoshaphat shows us the importance of making godly decisions. Whenever we are about to be involved with something that we are not certain, or that may have consequences beyond our knowledge, it is imperative to seek the Lord. Needless to say, all things should be brought to the Lord first, but especially when we come up against life changing decisions. Godly people seek God.
Whether in your occupation, neighborhood, or community, before you dedicate yourself to a task or project, make sure that God is involved—even if it’s tearing out a new kitchen, making a community playground, or taking an promotion. These decisions will have an impact not only on you, but others around you. Seek God before all things.
3. Godly Manhood Displays Wisdom & Discernment
Ahab can see that Jehoshaphat is a godly man, so his intention is to bring about “prophets” that will speak for God. However, Jehoshaphat’s spiritual antennae go up, as he notices that something just isn’t right about these so-called prophets. Whether Jehoshaphat visibly observes something or has a gut feeling, he employs wisdom and discernment. He asks Ahab, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” (18:6). Out of four HUNDRED men, Jehoshaphat doesn’t trust their intuition or their prophetic prowess. As it happens, Jehoshaphat was correct, as the story unfolds, but suffice it to say that godly manhood takes wisdom and discernment, and in this regard, specifically, spiritual discernment because it pertains to his and other people’s lives.
The message here relates to us in several ways. Let’s say that everyone in your office, family, or neighborhood is on board with a decision, this doesn’t mean that you throw out discernment or have to be the staunch lone vote. Who knows? Maybe you are the one person that staves off a disaster for the business, home, community, but Jehoshaphat was still asking about godly advice. Wisdom will ask for more time when important matters arise. A simple response as, “Can we take some time to pray about this first, or to seek someone who has been though this situation…” is using discernment. As well, spiritual discernment is vital sometimes and you may need to seek a mentor, pastor, or elder; the point, use the resources that you have. You wouldn’t build a house with only wood, screws, and a rock, but you’d wait until you had the correct tools.