1 Kings 22:29-38 ESV
29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. 31 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” 32 And when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is surely the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 And when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 34 But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 35 And the battle continued that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening he died. And the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. 36 And about sunset a cry went through the army, “Every man to his city, and every man to his country!”
37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 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.
DEATH IS AN APPOINTMENT.
As King Ahab put Micaiah in prison, he bragged about his coming back in peace from battle. Micaiah disagreed. Thus, he challenged everybody, by saying, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!” [v.28] Either Micaiah’s prediction was wrong or Ahab was deluded with his own presumption that he could control his destiny.
In this confrontation, the Syrian king made it clear to his 32 captains, saying, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” That is why, they turned back upon knowing that who they pursued was King Jehoshaphat, not King Ahab. However, they couldn’t locate king Ahab for he chose to disguise himself as he went to battle.
But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. This wasn’t incidental, was it? Ahab was able to hide from man. But, God had directed the arrow to strike him fatally through his armor. His death, as everyone’s death is, was an appointment. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw Death standing in the crowd and he came to him and said, Why did you make a threating gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, he said, “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”[by W. Somerset Maugham,1933]
The best of world’s mind may help us extend our lives, through medicines and technology. But, death is unpreventable and irreversible.