How Leaders Are Led Astray

How Leaders Are Led Astray

As a Christian business professional, one of my favorite places in scripture to find lessons of leadership and entrepreneurship are in the Old Testament. God offers wisdom for modern day professionals through the seemingly aged stories of kings, warriors, prophets, and leaders. Today, with the assist of Greater Seas Sr., we look to an old King of Judah for a relevant lesson on how others influence your decision making.

Jehosophat was King of Judah. He was a good man that God had blessed with riches and honor.  Ahab was King of Israel. He was on the surface a follower of God, but his decisions were made on the basis of what was good for Ahab, not necessarily what God wanted.

Despite being blessed and honored himself, Jehosophat made an alliance through marriage with Ahab.  That means Jehosophat’s son married Ahab’s daughter. There was no reason for Jehosophat to make this alliance. People have speculated he did it to be nice; because he could not say no to Ahab; or for political reasons that had nothing to do with God.

After the wedding, Ahab invited Jehosophat down to Samaria to visit. Ahab threw a great big feast for Jehosophat – really putting on a show for him. Ahab then tells Jehosophat that he is thinking about invading Ramoth Gilead – a town that actually fell into territory that belonged to Jehosophat because it was on the other side of the Jordan River.

Ahab asked Jehosophat to join him in attacking Ramoth Gilead. Jehosophat was full of skepticism – probably because he mistrusted Ahab based on his behavior; partly because he knew Ramoth Gilead actually belonged to him. So Jehosophat asks Ahab – did you ask the Lord about this?

Ahab answers ‘of course’, and to prove it schedules a meeting where 400 prophets come up one by one and each in stronger words than the last tells Ahab and Jehosophat that this is the right thing to do and that they will have an easy victory.

Jehosophat still has doubts – obviously God speaking to his heart through this process. So he asks – are there any more prophets we can talk to? Ahab says there is one – Micaiah – but that he is a bad prophet because he never tells Ahab what he wants to hear. Jehosophat mildly scolds Ahab for talking bad about a prophet of God – and Ahab reacts by summoning Micaiah.

So Micaiah is brought before the two kings, sitting on thrones in flowing robes, with four hundred prophets sitting around. The situation is explained to him – and he is told, ‘make it unanimous’; tell Ahab that he should attack. Micaiah responds – ‘sure, if that is what you want to hear’.  They press him again he says – I will answer as God directs me – this will end in disaster for you.

In the rest of the chapter, Ahab ignores Miciah’s warning and attacks anyway. And, as God said, he is killed in battle.  But how he gets killed is interesting.  He makes someone else wear his robes to look like the King – that guy is captured but not killed.  A lucky shot from an arrow actually pierces Ahab and he bleeds to death in a chariot. It was as if Ahab tried to escape God’s judgment of his disobedience, yet God’s punishment found him anyway.

Test Your Advisers

The lesson here is that we must be careful about whom we associate with and the decisions they lead us to make. Ahab surrounded himself with false prophets who clouded God’s truth with lies. Those advisers deceived Ahab into making a decision that resulted in death. We too may fall into a similar trap if we do not carefully test the spirits of those that we trust for advice. We may not necessarily be led to a fatal decision, but we may be led astray nonetheless.

My challenge you today is to step back and think about the people you take advice from, both in your personal and professional life. Do you rely on coworkers or employees to offer subject matter expertise in the marketplace? Ahab did. And he was fatally misinformed as a result of his adviser’s selfish ambitions. Ask God about the people you trust for advice, test their spirits, and always be sure to inquire on your own for God’s direction.

Photo Credit: cityyear (via Flickr Creative Commons)