In my study this morning, I was concluding the book of 1 Kings. Much today’s study concerned King Ahab of Israel and his wars with Aram. In his last battle, King Ahab of Israel allied with King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and they were to retake cities that Aram had not returned to Israel. Ahab had prophets surrounding him that told him what he desired to hear, but Jehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet of the Lord. Ahab’s response says everything we need to know about his contempt for God:
”And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.”1 Kings 22:8
Ahab wanted to only surround himself with those who spoke well of and to him. Jehoshaphat wanted to hear what the Lord had to say (though he didn’t heed it!). And Micaiah the son of Imlah spoke the Word of the Lord, even though he was abused and sent to prison for it.
Loved ones, there are two great lessons here for us: don’t surround yourself with flatterers, but with people who love God enough to tell you the truth, even if it’s unpleasant and stand against evil (Ahab and his wife Jezebel were certainly evil!), even if you stand alone. Many of us are afraid of coming to harm, but Jesus tells us that we’re going to be in harm’s way just because we love Him and for His name’s sake! Our physical bodies are temporary, this world is not our home, and so we must not seek to make a life or name for ourselves here. Instead, give yourself wholly to God. Stand for what He stands for, and don’t be afraid to speak out. There is nothing in life worth gaining or keeping if it means losing eternity with Christ. Stand up! Stand firm! The Lord your God is with you, and His Holy Spirit is inside of you! That is more than enough.
1 Kings 22:13-23
And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.” And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” And 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 home in peace.’” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you.”
1 John 4:1-6
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.