Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Some Prophets do not Tell the Truth

Meditation for the week of June 7, 2008

2 Chronicles 18:17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?

Ahab, the wicked King of Israel, and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were going to join forces and go to war against the King of Syria.  Before going to battle Jehoshaphat wanted to consult the Lord.  So they brought prophets, four hundred of them, and they all with one accord told Jehoshaphat and Ahab that they were going to prosper.  Jehoshaphat wasn’t satisfied.  While the passage doesn’t say so, these may have been prophets of Baal, because they certainly weren’t speaking for the Lord.  They were prophets who told the Kings what they thought the Kings wanted to hear. 

Both Jehoshaphat and Ahab seemed to know that the prophets were lying.  Jehoshaphat wanted another opinion, and he wanted it from a prophet of the Lord.  Ahab knew that there was another prophet and that his message was going to be different.  Micaiah the son of Imlah was apparently known as a prophet of Jehovah and Ahab knew that he would tell him he was going to fail.  So why ask for prophets to tell you what you already know?  And why penalize the prophet for telling you what you know in your heart is true?

Apparently, the four hundred prophets thought they had a word from the Lord because the story says that the Lord sent a lying spirit to the four hundred prophets.  But they had safety In numbers.  How could four hundred prophets prophesy in unison and be wrong?  Micaiah had been told to confirm their message by the messenger sent to get him.  So he told the kings what they wanted to hear, but Ahab knew that he wasn’t prophesying the truth.  Ahab didn’t need a prophet, he needed a conversion.  Jehoshaphat didn’t need a prophet, he needed to separate himself from Ahab who was worshiping Baal instead of the Lord.

People act as though they are ignorant when it comes to their relationship with God when in fact many people know that they are sinners and that they are not prepared to meet God.  They don’t need to be told that.  Most of us don’t meet our own standards of behavior, how could we possibly meet the standards of God?   And yet, we like to hear preachers who tell us that all is well.  However, most people have a conscience that tells them that all is not well (see Romans 2:15).  I suspect most people are like Ahab and Jehoshaphat, they know the truth when they hear it, but they just don’t like to hear it. 

Ahab and Jehoshaphat would not listen to the one prophet out of four hundred and one who told them the truth.  Ahab died that day just as Micaiah had prophesied.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we listened to that inner voice that the Lord uses to convict us of sin?  Then we could listen to the message of the Gospel that tells us that God commends his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  While we would apply this story to the unsaved, sometimes we who claim to be Christians look for preachers and prophets that will tell us what we want to hear as well.

Ahab and Jehoshaphat rebelled against what they knew to be true and disaster resulted.  They didn’t need a prophet, they needed to submit themselves to the authority of the Lord.  We cannot resist what we know to be true and expect that everything is going to be all right even if all the preachers in the world tell us that we need not worry.

Bruce Collins

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