But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?” “I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” “By what route shall we attack?” he asked. “Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered. So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them. “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord ?” An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah. – 2 Kings 3:5-11
“Jumping Jehosephat” is jumping again. Ahab’s son has enlisted the help of the King of Judah, Jehosephat, and the king of Samaria, Joram to take on the king of Moab because he rebelled against Israel. These three kings are headed into battle without consulting a higher authority, God. They are trusting their own power and intelligence to make them successful.
These three kings decide to take a path through the Desert of Edom and they seem to be lost….perhaps in more ways than one. They are on a “roundabout march of seven days” and discover that they don’t have enough water for themselves or their animals. It is at this point that they call upon God and blame Him for getting them into this mess. That is a bit like a a child caught red-handed, with their hand in the cookie jar, claiming it is the jar’s fault.
It seems to me that these kings went into the desert without consulting God and now that they have gotten themselves into trouble they are ready to seek God’s help –sort of a “fox hole ” conversion. It is interesting that Jehosephat was the one to bring up the idea of seeking a prophet of God so they could “inquire of the Lord”. He seems to be the one who was most interested in turning back from the distraction and contamination from false God’s and idols that began in earnest under King Solomon.
The last detail of the passage is a bit odd. An officer of the King of Israel says that Elisha used to “pour water on the hands of Elijah”. Why was this an important detail to share? Was this just an indication of the close relationship between Elisha and Elijah? Elijah was a well respected man of God so perhaps the fact that Elisha poured water on his hands was proof that this man could communicate with God for them.
This passage is a cautionary tale for us as we go though life making plans and “waging battles”. We need to seek God’s wisdom and counsel before we “head off into the desert”. Otherwise we may wander for days and run out of water (living water).
Prayer: God thank You that are ready and willing to provide us with wisdom and counsel, help us to ask for it before we need it.