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Seeking Godly Counsel

2 Kings 3:11-12 (ESV)

 And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?” Then one of the king of Israel’s servants answered, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.


From Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers to Damian Lewis in Band of Brothers, every good Hollywood war commander exhibits courage, strategic thinking, and a sense of duty. These traits inspire confidence, trust, and morale among troops. In today’s verses, we find King Jehoshaphat at the precipice of war, a dire and dangerous situation close to disaster for Israel. King Jehoshaphat is that calm and steady presence among his indecisive, timid, anxious companions. However, his conviction lies not in himself, but in the One he seeks counsel from.

At this point, King Jehoshaphat of Judah has been asked into an alliance by two opposing kings for protection from Moabite rebels. The first, King Jehoram of Israel, is labeled an evil king in the sight of the Lord. His reputation is riddled by idolatry, marriage alliances, murder, and failure to follow God’s commandments. Alongside him stands the King of Edom, leader of a kingdom with a complex relationship and hardened heart toward Israel. Their fragile, desperate alliance is motivated by shared self-interests, and relies upon unwise counsel.

So how does King Jehoshaphat’s composure contrast with the other two kings? He prioritizes divine counsel over the worldly counsel of men. He factors God’s proven track record into his considerations while at the brink of war. He does this by humbly seeking a prophet of the Lord to inquire on their behalf. In comes Elisha, another humble servant of the Lord, characterized as the one who washed the hands of the great prophet Elijah.

The narrative is shifted by Jehoshaphat and Elisha humbly renouncing their own wisdom in pursuit of God’s. It redirects focus from pure self-interest to a reliance on God. It emphasizes the importance of seeking God's guidance and acknowledging His role in their endeavors. It gives God the chance to show up in their situation.

God intervenes in a miraculous way by deceiving the Moabites into thinking the three unified kings have turned on one other. Among this confusion, the allied armies attack, defeat, and destroy the Moabites. Seeking God’s counsel delivers the armies of Israel from the Moabites.

Action Steps

When we hold on to our own efforts for counsel, we shortchange ourselves. Instead, God’s counsel is exceedingly and abundantly wiser than we can imagine. King Jehoshaphat and Elisha recognized this when making decisions.

Start with humility. Do you have a “need for control” in a current decision that you need to hand over to God?

1. Pray for Him to intervene with His wisdom in your situation.

2. Share this with another humble servant of the Lord. Ask them to pray with and for you.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being present in every situation. Let me remove any confidence in my own ways and instead collaborate with Your counsel. In moments of uncertainty, I turn to You for guidance and wisdom. Lead me with clarity to make decisions that align with Your will. I trust in Your gracious guidance. Amen.

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