2 Chronicles 18:7
So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say such things!”
Our faith is founded on the promises of God. Truly, if He had not promised eternal life to those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ, we would not believe, we would have no faith and no hope of the resurrection. It is God’s promises that keep us rooted in His Word and in this faith in which we stand. But we must remember that just as He promises good to those who believe, He also promises condemnation on those who refuse to believe. That is the righteous judgment of God.
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
We love that first verse, but we fear that last one. And rightly we should! As wise King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) As we can see from today’s verse, King Ahab of Israel despised instruction and the true Word of God.
King Ahab was about to go up against the people of Ramoth Gilead, and he was trying to persuade King Jehoshaphat of Judah to go with him. But Jehoshaphat was not about to act rashly, and so he requested that they seek the Word of the Lord concerning their venture. Four hundred prophets came and told Ahab and Jehoshaphat the same thing: “Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.” (2 Chronicles 18:5) But Jehoshaphat was still not persuaded. “Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4) So Jehoshaphat sought further counsel, and Ahab then remarked that there was still on prophet whom they had not consulted. As we can see from today’s verse, Ahab didn’t like Micaiah because he always prophesied bad things about Ahab–as well he might, considering all that King Ahab did in worshiping the Baals, yielding to his queen Jezebel, and persecuting the prophets of God. Nonetheless, Ahab summoned Micaiah.
Now here’s where things get interesting. Micaiah at first spoke just like the other prophets, and yet Ahab, hearing something so favorable, knew that something was amiss.
2 Chronicles 18:14-17
14 Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” And he said, “Go and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand!”
15 So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?”
16 Then he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ ”
17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”
In the end, Ahab had Micaiah thrown in prison for speaking the truth of God, and Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war at Ramoth Gilead anyway. The Lord saved Jehoshaphat, but Ahab was indeed killed.
That is the truth about God’s Word: those who wish to pursue their own ways never want to hear anything but good from God. They cling only to the good things God says and never want to admit that the Lord would oppose what they are doing. And even when they have been warned, even when the clear Word of God is to repent and seek justice and righteousness, they ignore the wisdom and instruction of God and go their own way.
There are many today who do not want to hear or to heed the instruction of God. They cherry-pick the Bible for favorable verses and then claim that the unfavorable verses simply do not apply to them because they “love the Lord.” But those who truly love God above all things will heed His Word–ALL of His Word.
1 John 5:2-3
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
If Ahab had truly loved God, he would have heeded the word given him by Micaiah, but being proud and selfish, he tried to disguise himself and hide from the doom that was to come upon him. Despite his effort to avoid death, a random arrow found its way through a chink in his armor, and by sunset he was dead.
Will we try to avoid God’s wrath by hiding in plain sight, by trying to disguise our half-hearted faith with lies and cherry-picked “promises”? Or will we truly listen to the whole Word of God with honesty and with a willingness to heed what we hear? We may not always hear what we want, and in fact we may find that God opposes what we plan for ourselves. When we consult the Word of God with honesty and openness, we undoubtedly will see that our righteous God will judge us and our friends a strict and fixed moral standard–not the sliding morality of the world. We would do well, then, to change our ways.
In this world, we can either be slaves to sin or we can be free men and women operating under the grace and the Word of God. We can choose to stick our fingers in our ears and ignore the wrath promised to those who do not repent, or we can open our ears with faith and repent and find that God truly does have a better way for us. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” our Savior said. Therefore, let us open our ears and be willing to hear the whole, unadulterated, unedited, holy Word of God. Let us not despise the wisdom and instruction of the Bible, and let us not try to hide ourselves from God and His judgment. Rather, let us embrace the Bible’s teachings, taking the bad with the good so that we gain wisdom and understanding, and let us seek God while He may be found by us, so that it will go well with us for all eternity.
O Lord our God, the one wise and just God, we come before You today with humble hearts willing to hear what You desire of us. We will not hide from Your judgment, and we will not despise Your teaching. Instead, we desire the whole of Your Word, and we desire understanding and true enlightenment, so that we can see our sins an repent of them. Teach us Your Word so that we may know Your Son better and seek to be the sons and daughters You intend us to be. Amen.