Finding good advisers
2 Chronicles 18: I’ll get all the prophets to lie.
Jehoshaphat has no business being in Samaria, much less meeting with its wicked king Ahab. He’s treated to a meal “fit for a king” that’s intended to soften him up a bit. When Ahab thinks the time’s right he suggests an alliance between Israel and Judah against Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat is hesitant and suggests that they consult the Lord. The result is a pre-arranged prophetic display from some of Ahab’s hand-picked prophets. Jehoshaphat knows what’s going on and asks for a second opinion, this time from a real prophet of God. It’s now that we meet Micaiah. I picture him as a little fireball of a fellow. In fact, his feistiness has already gotten him on the bad side of Ahab. Micaiah says this campaign will end in massive defeat, especially for Israel. When pressed on the matter he gives an imaginary scenario in which the Lord calls a meeting of his angelic advisors. The Lord wants their ideas of how to get Ahab to make the foolish decision to attack Ramoth Gilead. Finally, one angel says it won’t be hard to do; he’ll just get all of Ahab’s paid prophets to lie to him! As you can imagine all these so called prophets don’t take kindly to being called liars and pandemonium breaks out. Ahab has Micaiah thrown into jail and proceeds with his battle plans. It’s his last battle. It’s really not hard to find people who agree with us. Some folks really like us and think we can do about anything; they tell us to go for it. Others want to score points with us, or are afraid of us, or really don’t care one way or another. The trick is to find people who know what they’re talking about and who will risk telling us the truth, even if it’s not what we want to hear. One person who will do that is worth a dozen of the other sort.
Take Away: Thank the Lord for good friends who tell us the truth in love.
He nailed it
1Kings 22: As surely as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.
I’m drawn to little known people in the Bible who only make one appearance but who make a good showing in their one shot on the stage of history. The prophet Micaiah is one such man. King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah are discussing the possibility of joining forces in a campaign against Aram. Jehoshaphat wants to hear from God on this issue and Ahab, anticipating that, has a crew of hired prophets standing by. They tell the two kings that they’ll be wildly successful if they go to war against Aram. However, Jehoshaphat’s unconvinced. His question reflects both his spirituality and his lack of confidence in the hired prophets of Ahab. He asks for a real prophet of God. It’s here that we meet Micaiah, unknown to us, but apparently well known to Ahab. The King of Israel says that there’s one guy who can speak for God, but he hates him because he never says anything good about him! Upon Jehoshaphat’s insistence Micaiah is called. As he comes, he’s warned that anything negative he might say, as some lawman might put it, “will be used against him in a court of law.” Micaiah starts off with pure sarcasm: “sure, go for it, you’ll win a great victory.” It’s so obvious that he’s making fun of the hired prophets that Ahab presses him for the truth. Micaiah gives it to him, right between the eyes! All of his hired prophets are liars and God’s going to use this war to be rid of Ahab once and for all. Our glimpse of Micaiah ends with his being drug out of the presence of the kings while shouting, “If you ever get back in one piece, I’m no prophet of God.” Then he adds that when everything happens just as he said he wants everyone to remember this event. Some people play big roles in the history of God’s work in this world and I thank the Lord for them. Others have just a bit part, but I can’t help but be impressed when they come through with flying colors. Today, I tip my hat to Micaiah, the prophet of God.
Take Away: As a “bit player” I too want to be ready when my moment comes.