‘What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?’ 2 Corinthians 6:15
King Jehoshaphat had begun well. ‘The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals, but sought the God of his father’ (17:3,4). But history tells us of many men, who really walked with the Lord in their youth, but later felt more at home with riches and honour than with the Lord!
So it was with Jehoshaphat. By marriage he allied himself with Ahab, the king of Israel. As a young man, Jehoshaphat had fought Israel, and rightly so, because Israel had come to serve Baal completely.
Now there was not so much difference between the service of the Lord (Yahweh) and the service of Baal. The only real difference was, that Yahweh is the Creator of heaven and earth and the only real God, whereas Baal was an idol of Phoenician origin. The word ‘Baal’ means: Lord. From this story we can learn how much the worship of Baal resembled the worship of the living God.
When Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to go with him against Ramoth Gilead, Jehoshaphat agreed, but first he wanted to seek the counsel of the Lord (Yahweh). Then Ahab gathered the four hundred prophets of Baal, to seek counsel through them. They said: ‘Go, for God (Elohim) will give it into the king’s hand’ (:4,5). They did not say ‘the Lord’ (Yahweh), but ‘God’.
But Jehoshaphat, although not wholly devoted to Yahweh anymore, kept asking: ‘Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord (Yahweh) here?’ (:6). Then the prophets became overconfident and used the holy name of Yahweh, but still meant Baal, the idol of their own making!
Jehoshaphat must have felt insecure, surrounded by the splendid liturgy of the service of Baal. Was he at home, in Jerusalem, not used to plainly seeking counsel of Yahweh? Alright, the service of Yahweh might have been a little old-fashioned in the eyes of Ahab, but Jehoshaphat knew that only Yahweh could really answer …