Why Does God Allow Evil?

1 Kings 22:18 – And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

Every day, we witness wrongdoing, and even evil, in families, churches, and governments. This leads us to one of the most difficult questions, “God is sovereign, powerful, and good. Evil exists and creatures bear moral responsibility for it. How can we reconcile the character of God with the reality of sin?” Often, this question is referred to as “the problem of evil”, or “theodicy”. 

In 1 Kings 22, evil and suffering are reported in painful detail. Over the next couple of days, we’ll look at nine instances of evil and suffering reported in this chapter.

One, after three years of peace, there is a rising threat of bloody war between nations. If war breaks out, young men are dying, mothers will lose their sons, wives will bury their husbands, and children will grow up not knowing their father. 

Two, there are true prophets being opposed by false prophets. This leads to obvious confusion among the people and causes divisions and factions. The 400 demonic false prophets of King Ahab of course, “prophecy” victory, only telling the rulers what they want to hear. Conversely, there is only one true prophet of God available, Micaiah, who was imprisoned. Released from prison, Micaiah begins by mocking the false prophets, and then telling God’s truth that King Ahab would die in the battle and Israel would be scattered. 

Three, the prophet Micaiah revealed that the Lord had allowed a “…lying spirit in the mouth of all his [Ahab’s false] prophets…” (1 Kings 22:22) This meant that the demonic work of the 400 false prophets was somehow permitted by God as part of His bigger plan. Micaiah was struck on the face, sent back to prison and given bread and water, punished for being a man of God. His name means, “Who is like the Lord”? and his devotion to God was unwavering, even though he stood alone, like Elijah.

Four, the passive coward King Ahab sought to avoid death in the war. To hide, he disguised himself so that no one would know he was a king. The King of Syria’s battle plan was to focus all his soldiers on the singular mission of killing King Ahab, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” (1 Kings 22:31) His adversary, King Jehoshaphat, went into battle with faith in the Lord, wearing his royal robes, which would have made him an obvious target to be killed first by the enemy. God honored his faith and spared his life. Ahab was killed by what looks like an accident but was part of God’s sovereign plan as “a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate.” (1 Kings 22:34) Later that night, propped up to watch the battle, King Ahab died without any honor, “So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes washed themselves in it, according to the word of the Lord that he had spoken.” (1 Kings 22:37-38) This fulfilled the prophecy given in 1 Kings 20:42.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at five more reports of evil and suffering in 1 Kings 22.

In the story of 1 Kings 22, what is both most shocking and comforting? Why?

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