Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host (army) of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this, while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.’
During our home church's Bible study on the Book of Acts, we have enjoyed a discussion on the "host of heaven", and exactly what that means. It's important that we come to an understanding of that term since it appears throughout the Bible. Also, God is often referred to as "the God of hosts". So just who or what is "the host"?
It is easy to get confused by this term... depending on the context with which it is used in Scripture it can point to either the sun, moon, and stars; or to angelic beings. The important thing to understand is that they are all creations of God. And there is a connection between the two groups ... through the influence of satan, and throughout the history of mankind, human beings have turned from worshipping the Most High God to worshipping gods (fallen angels) represented by the heavenly bodies and constellations. These "small g" gods are very real, and we see them referenced throughout ancient history ... Ra was the ancient sun god of Egypt; ancient Arabia worshipped a moon god; Rompha was the star god, or god of Saturn, referred to by Stephen.
And we need to clearly understand that these were created angelic beings who were led astray by satan to believe, that as gods, their own power was equal to that of "The Most High". Take a fresh look at Psalm 82, and you will see this dynamic. God calls a meeting of His divine council. The Bible very plainly states, "God has taken His place in the divine council, in the midst of the gods he holds judgment". He is doing the same thing here in 1 Kings ... the gods (heavenly host) are before Him, and He is working with them to bring forth His judgment upon Ahab.
First, a little backstory: The kings of Israel (Ahab) and Judah (Jehoshaphat) decide to join forces in their battle against Syria at Ramoth-gilead. But King Jehoshaphat wished to appeal to the prophets of YHWH to make sure it was the will of God. So King Ahab called forth his 400 loyal prophets, who pronounced that their king would be favored with victory. (A little note on Ahab... Remember, the Bible says, “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him”. He was the most evil king of all the kings of Israel). So naturally, the prophets told him only what he wanted to hear.
King Jehoshaphat must have recognized the bias, and asked if there was not one more prophet they could hear from. Ahab reluctantly mentions the prophet Micaiah, whom he hates, because the prophet spoke the Lord's truth, which was often against Ahab. The verses I selected for today's post are the prophecy of Micaiah. So, what is the significance of this prophecy in terms of the host of heaven?
Micaiah clearly states the he has been given a vision -- or perhaps he actually was given a glimpse into the heavenly court -- and he has seen the Lord sitting on His throne, with the heavenly host arrayed before Him; some on the right, and some on the left. It is important that we note that the right hand of God is the favored spot. In the ancient world, the kings always put the favored ones at their right hand; Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and we are all with Him. The "right hand of God" was that which overcame Israel's enemies, as exemplified in Exodus 15:6, Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power; your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
Since Micaiah sees the heavenly host on both sides of the Lord, this may indicate that God spoke to the combined host of heaven, both faithful and fallen angelic beings. God then asks this assembled group, Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead? God wanted to bring judgment against Ahab, so He asked this group of the host of heaven for a volunteer to lead Ahab into battle.
And God gets an answer to His question ... I will entice him. Apparently, one of the fallen angels volunteered to go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all 400 of Ahab's compromising prophets. Since Ahab wanted to be deceived, God would give him what He wanted, using a willing fallen angel who worked through willing unfaithful prophets.
Can you see how satan works? To entice; to attract or tempt with an offer of pleasure or advantage? And can you also see that God knows exactly how our enemy works, and is willing to exploit that sin for His own glory? "What is meant for evil, God uses for [His] good" is an apt description of what we see happening here. In fact, God gives explicit instructions: You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.
I realize that this idea that there are other gods besides YHWH (albeit, "small g" gods), may be a foreign concept to you. But it is my opinion that the Western Church, down through the centuries, has been misguided about what "The One True God", or "The Most High God" means. God never says there are no other gods; after all, He created them! He only says they are "false" gods. Take a look at Deuteronomy, Chapter 32. In verses 7-9, God tells us that, as The Most High God, He divided mankind up into different territories with borders (most likely at the Tower of Babel), and these fixed number of people were according to the number of the sons of God.
The first mention of the sons of God is in Genesis 6:1-4, and it refers to the [fallen] angels who came to earth to mate with earthly women. I do not subscribe to the concept that these are human beings -- either here, in Genesis, or in Deuteronomy. So what God is telling us in Deuteronomy is that "He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God [or His created angelic beings]". But He then says, "But the Lord's portion is His people; that Jacob [or Israel] is His allotted heritage". In other words, He's saying, "you angelic beings [that I have created] have been given different nations as your inheritance, but I'm taking Israel; she's mine".
Now, look just a few verses later, at 32:16-17. But what did God's favored nation do? The Bible says, they stirred Him to jealousy with strange gods; they sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known; to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers never dreaded. By now it should be clear that other "gods" exist! But the Bible is all about the relationship of the The Most High God; the one with a capital G, and His relationship with the people He claimed as His own. All the other gods were created by Him, and meant to be subject to Him. But one, who fancied himself greatest among the "little g" gods coveted the title and power, and grew to think that he could be equal to the One who created him... and he convinced one-third of the other gods to follow him.
The idea of other gods and a heavenly host that consists of holy, as well as evil, angelic beings may be a new concept to you. And your head may be spinning about now. But please do not dismiss it. Read it within the context of the verses I have shown you, and I think you will find your view of God expanding; and you will start to see the evil in the world, and the bondage in our lives from a whole new perspective. And in Psalm 82, you will see the God of all creation dressing down those He created for not tending to the peoples they were given jurisdiction over, as He hands down His judgment. And what is the final statement in this amazing Psalm? Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all the nations! YHWH may have claimed Israel for Himself, but in the end, He, and He alone, will come into possession of all the peoples of the earth! Amen to that!