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Friday, August 30, 2013

Speaking God's Truth When It Is Not Popular

The book of 2 Chronicles is rich with spiritual truth for us (as all of The Bible). The examples found in it show us how our relationship with God should be, even in times when people turn away from God and His truth. It's human nature, we like to hear what we want. It validates us. But this validation is often built on our own pride and sinfulness. We need to hear God's truth even if it is not what we want to hear. This is the case in 2 Chronicles 18.

Jehoshaphat was King Asa's son (see 17:1). He was a man who walked with God. His heart was encouraged in the ways of the Lord (17:6). He did one thing that was not pleasing to God: the marriage allegiance with King Ahab (see 18:1) who ruled the Northern Kingdom or Israel (see 19:2). Ahab who was not a good King (see 1 Kings 16:31) asks Jehoshaphat to go with him in war against the Arameans. Jehoshaphat asks Ahab to seek God to see if he must join Ahab or not. Ahab calls his four hundred prophets (18:4-5). All of Ahabs prophets say that he should go ahead against the Arameans and assure him that God will give them victory. Not satisfied (he might have had some suspicions about the prophets), Jehoshaphat asks if there is another prophet (he must have known) that they could inquire. Ahab admits there is one, but this prophet, according to the king, is no good. He always prophecied wrong against him. Pause for a moment. King Ahab's judgment is cloudy. He has not given thought that true prophets of God don't speak what others want to hear. They must speak God's truth. They often were called of God to pronounce judgment against sin. It didn't occur to Ahab that his life was perhaps out of line before God.

Ahab's gives into Jehoshaphat's request and he summons Micaiah. While an officer goes to call him all of the other prophets keep telling King Ahab what he wants to hear: positive words, kudos. The officer who calls Micaiah tells him that all the other prophets are unanimous in their words, they all have spoken favorably (18:12). "But Micaiah said, "As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak." (v.13). Micaiah does not follow consensus; he does not speak what's popular. He will speak what God tells him to speak. He will be faithful to his God.

When he arrives Micaiah is asked by king Ahab if he should go and fight the Arameans. Micaiah knows what he is asking so he plays along and in a sarcastic tone affirms what the other prophets have said. But the king also knows this isn't true. Micaiah then prophesies that king Ahab will be defeated (v. 16). The prophet continues and tells him how his "prophets" are being deceived by an evil spirit. God has allowed this because Ahab refuses to hear and follow God (This will happen again in the future. God will allow those who refuse to believe the truth to be deceived. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Micaiah is slapped by one Ahab's prophets and the king sends him to jail. Micaiah last words to the king were ""If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me." And he said, Hear, all you peoples." (v. 27). A true test of a prophet is whether his word comes to pass (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) and Micaiah submits himself to it. His words do come to pass. King Ahab is injured in battle and consequently dies (read here).

Micaiah is a great example of what a servant of God ought (should, must) to be and do. Whether we are pastors, leaders of a church or just your "average" believer, we are called to be faithful to God. Our loyalty is to Him and no one else (Galatians 1:10). We are called to speak His Word whether it is popular or not. (1 Thessalonians 2:3). We are called to speak God's truth even if the consensus of our culture says we ought to speak "favorable words," words others want to hear. Words that are politically correct. Speaking God's truth may cost us. It may cost us jail (I just saw this video of Richard Wurmbrand who spent three years in solitary confinement for speaking God's truth) or other form of repercussion. But the mark of a true believer, a follower of Jesus, is obedience to Him.

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