“And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle; but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.” So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel!” Therefore they turned aside to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat cried out. And it happened, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. 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.” (1Ki 22:30-35 NKJ)
God had told King Ahab through the prophet Micaiah that he would die if he went to battle against the Syrians that day, in punishment for all his sins. Ahab refused to listen, and instead listened to the prophets of the false gods who always told him what he wanted to hear. He thought he could cheat the odds by disguising himself, but a random bowshot hit him in the joints of his armor and killed him.
We so often think we can cover the tracks of our own sin, that we can be clever enough to evade consequences. But it’s really only the mercy of God that stands between us and full exposure, full consequences. It’s only the mercy of God that our loved ones, our friends, or our churches don’t know all the deepest sins we commit, the things we think in the dark, the things we say to our friends that we think will never get back to anyone else. All God has to do is lift His grace a little bit from you so that you in your pride speak your mind, because every sinner deep down thinks he’s justified for the things he thinks, the things he lusts after, the hate and envy he has in his heart. We think we can disguise ourselves and escape consequences, but one random arrow is all it takes. Someone peeking in through the window at night; an overheard conversation; a mis-sent text message; a tweet that was supposed to be private accidentally made public. Someone you thought was a friend who’s always secretly resented you, who tells someone else the thing you told him in confidence. And suddenly the whole world is looking at your shame.
God’s mercies are new every morning, though. He is a good and gracious God. I know this by the simple fact that most of my sins are not known to the world. He is longsuffering. So the sinner should take heart by this, and repent, and bend the knee, and beg for God’s grace, and He will certainly give it. He does not break the bruised reed or quench the smoking flax. The humble and contrite sinner he will receive, but the stiff neck He will break. Or pierce with a “random” arrow.