Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” The battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out from the wound onto the floor of the chariot. Then, as the sun was going down, a shout went throughout the army, saying, “Every man to his city, and every man to his own country!” So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken. (1 Kings 22:34-38)
The Unknown Soldier
He is not recorded in history with the prestige of one who slew the enemy king. The Lord knew his name but did not declare it. Yet someone in that vast array of the Syrian army at a place called Ramoth Gilead shot a single arrow at random and the missile found its mark in King Ahab, mortally wounding him. The king of Israel died that evening. So ended the reign of one of the most wicked dynasties among the history of man. Ahab, along with his evil wife Jezebel, “did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). He tried to hide from God but he could not.
The Lord’s will was accomplished by an unknown soldier. He would never know where his arrow landed. He might have died in battle that day himself. The arrow came from his bow but the Lord directed the will of that arrow to punish the king of Israel. Ahab’s death was foretold by the prophet Micaiah and no matter how Ahab tried to hide himself the arrow of the Lord found him.
Jonah tried to run from God – he was found. David thought he got away with adultery – Nathan found him. Ananias and Sapphira thought they pulled a fast one over Peter – their dead bodies were carried away. The Lord’s will cannot be changed no matter how we try. There is a message of fear in this story to know that we cannot escape the unknown soldier of the Lord. But there is another story.
The comfort for God’s people is to know that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). God works in my life and what a blessing that is. He lifts nations up and tears them down. Vengeance will be the Lord’s no matter what man does. The peace of God guards our hearts by His wonderful mercy and grace. Thank you God for your love.
His promises are checks to be cashed, not mere mottoes to hang on the wall. (Vance Havner)