ahab and the truth


I was getting ready for Sunday School a week back and we were going to be looking at the Word of God throughout Scripture. Our third point was God’s Word as speech through human lips. We found ourselves in 1 Kings 22. This has to be one of my favourite OT passages.

Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah and he was talking to Ahab, the king of Israel, and he wanted to link arms and lay the smackdown on another city. Jehoshaphat was smart enough to say ‘let’s see what God has to say, first.’

So Ahab rounds up four hundred ‘yes men prophets’ and what do they say? ‘Two thumbs up, King Ahab!’ But Jehoshaphat didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, and he said, ‘Ahab…is four hundred all there is?  Isn’t there another prophet dude that you need to be talking to?’ And King Ahab was stone cold busted! Listen to what he says:

[8] 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.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.”  (1 Kings 22:8 ESV)

Now let me pause for a moment and suggest that the Bible is so relevant…we don’t make it relevant, it is sooooo relevant. ‘I won’t listen to that guy because I don’t like his message.’ Is that not a line that is taken off the lips of the modern day church-goer in North America today? There are a lot of churches that have preachers and teachers that are bringing it straight and I appreciate that and applaud that and announce that…but…many aren’t. Many are leaving out the hard stuff that is so necessary for the benefit of our souls. A phrase I hear again and again when references modern day heretics: ‘it’s not what they say, it’s what they don’t say.’  It’s what they leave out.

But Micaiah was the man, the dude, the guy who brought it straight. He gave King Ahab his Hollywood Squares answer but then he waved the yellow flag and warned him that he’d get thumped. And Ahab got a little sideways and roughed up the true prophet.

Do truth tellers and true prophets sometimes get roughed up today? (That’s a rhetorical question!)

So King Ahab walked into battle with knocking knees because he wasn’t convinced that he was going to leave the ring with his arm held high and the world championship belt tightly fastened around his waist. He was a little fearful of the real prophet’s words, so he disguised himself before he went to battle.

The enemies chased after Jehoshaphat thinking it was Ahab but when they found out it wasn’t they backed off. So what happened to Ahab? Just what Micaiah said would happen:

[34] But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”  (1 Kings 22:34 ESV)

[37] So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria.(1 Kings 22:37 ESV)

There are a lot of voices in Big Tent North American Christianity. Just because a lot of people, and a lot of religious leaders, are saying and doing some foolish things, they do not cease to be foolish things. It was four hundred to one in 1 Kings 22 and the one voice was the true voice of God…one out of four hundred.   

I think this passage has so much to say about God’s sovereignty. Ahab dressed up to throw off his enemies and a guy lets an arrow fly at random and it hits the bullseye and before long Ahab is dead. A little costume is not going to throw off a sovereign God who knows all things.  

Another takeaway is to be discerning by God’s great grace. With many messages today that are parading around as the truth but many of the messages are conflicting with God’s Word. The way we are discerning is to know the truth. In Ephesians 6 Paul warned us to handle the sword of the Spirit well…the Word can so slice and dice the falsehood and half truths to nothing that are presented from many pulpit, Sunday School classes, blogs and books. We are so in need of the truth…because it sets us free!



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