"He Who Has an Ear"

We depend on God resisting us in our sin. If we stubbornly refuse His will, we expect Him to resist us, maybe even thwart our efforts. We expect Him to struggle with us, so that we might find it difficult, which might cause us to pause and consider (Acts 26:14). It can be surprising, even frightening to learn that God sometimes steps out of our way and lets us hear whatever we want to hear. Please consider the prophet Micaiah's initial response to King Ahab's inquiry:

Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?" And he answered him, "Go and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the hand of the king!" (I Kings 22:15)

Now, it is not unusual for a prophet of the Lord to pronounce the Lord's blessing upon a king's efforts; however, it is unusual that a prophet would encourage a king into the very effort that would destroy him! When King Ahab heard this, on the day before his death in battle, he knew that Micaiah was not speaking truth.

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?" 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.' "And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?" (I Kings 22:16-18)

Why did Micaiah initially conceal the truth? The king immediately knew it was not true (I Kings 22:16). Why did Micaiah lie? Sometimes, more is communicated than which words alone convey.

Prior to this declaration, King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat had met to discuss battle against Syria. Although Ahab was inclined to rush to war, Jehoshaphat requested, "Please inquire for the word of the LORD today" (I Kings 22:5). Ahab gathered all of his 400 false prophets together, who unanimously, but falsely foretold the victory of Ahab. Although the sayings pleased Ahab, Jehoshaphat was not convinced:

And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?" So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say such things!" (I Kings 22:7-8)

Surely Micaiah knew these events, being a prophet and knowledgeable of Ahab's customs (I Kings 22:16). However, the king's messenger still ensured that Micaiah was adequately "prepped" to speak appropriate words:

Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, "Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement." And Micaiah said, "As the LORD lives, whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak." (I Kings 22:13-14)

It is hard to imagine that scene, which occurred long ago: All day the kings heard false prophecies, encouraging them to war. Everybody knew they were phony. The kings knew. The prophets knew. Finally, the true and faithful prophet, who had been avoided, was brought before the kings, but not without first being warned. Ahab, who so eagerly desired news of prosperity, but expected words of judgment, must have felt the thunder-clap of doom in Micaiah's voice, rife with empty hope. Ahab's reaction only confirmed what everybody knew to be true: Except Jehoshaphat, no one really cared what the Lord had to say.

Do we have any "Ahab's" among us today? Has that spirit found a place in our hearts? During the days of Ezekiel, God warned the prophet that people only listened to him because they liked the sound of his voice (Ezekiel 33:30-32). They had no interest in obeying God's will. Paul warned Timothy that men would heap up teachers, who would be willing to scratch their itching ears (II Timothy 4:3-4). Paul also warned about God sending forth a strong delusion for those who did not have a love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). People see what they want to see. They hear what the want to hear. When was the last time you prayed for a deeper love of truth? "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear" (Mark 4:23; Revelation 2-3).

 

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Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1994 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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