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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For What Purpose Do You Inquire?

Why do we read our bibles?  Why do we go to church?  Why do we hope to attend church where a prophet (preacher) occupies the pulpit each service?  Is it simply for the satisfaction of saying we sought a word from God?  Is it so we can have our conscience soothed just by being mature enough to take the truth?  Is it so our lives can be transformed?  Our motives in respect to these issues are important and will ultimately be reflected in the fruit that is borne in our lives.  Are those that hear the word of God and dismiss it more noble than those who have no interest in hearing the word of God?

Consider Ahab and Jehoshaphat in 1 Kings 22.  Ahab was of course the notoriously wicked king of Israel, he was and is infamous for his idolatry and wickedness.  Jehoshaphat on the other hand was the good and mostly godly king of Judah.

Ahab requested Jehoshapat's help in reclaiming Ramoth-gilead from Syria.  Jehoshaphat unwisely argued that there was no difference between Israel and Judah. (1 Kings 22:4)  Jehoshaphat being a lover of Jehovah and not a worshiper of Baal asked Ahab to inquire at the word of the LORD.  (1 Kings 22:5)  Ahab called together 400 false prophets to seek their counsel about going to war with Syria.  The false prophets encouraged the action claiming Syria would be delivered into their hand.  Jehoshaphat was not satisfied.  He wanted to inquire of a prophet of the LORD.  (1 Kings 22:7)  Jehoshaphat was right to be concerned.

Ahab indicated there was a prophet, Micaiah by whom they could inquire of the LORD; but Ahab hated him.  Why?  Because he never prophesied good concerning him but evil.  (1 Kings 22:8)  At Jeshoshaphat's insistence Micaiah was summoned. Micaiah was informed that the other (false) prophets had prophesied favorably concerning the potential venture and he was instructed to fall in line. (1 Kings 22:13)  When Micaiah arrived he too prophesied that they should go up.  Ahab must have sensed the sarcasim in his voice and rebuked him for his obvious patronizing. (1 Kings 22:15,16)  Micaiah therefore prophesied that it would be unwise to war against the Syrians (1 Kings 22:17) and he even prophesied concerning the events that unfolded in heaven that brought about the lying prophets for the ultimate destruction of Ahab. (1 Kings 22:19-22)  How was the prophet of the LORD treated for speaking the truth.  He was imprisoned and fed with the bread and water of affliction.  (1 Kings 22:26,27)

Jehoshaphat was present and heard and watched all of this unfold.  On one hand we have Ahab who did not want to hear a prophet of the LORD because he always prophesied evil concerning him.  On the other hand we have Jehoshaphat who insisted on hearing from a prophet of the LORD.  He wanted to hear what God had to say about it.  They both heard the word of the LORD through the prophet of God.  Jehoshaphat heard Micaiah prophesy defeat.  He heard Micaiah explain the chain of events that led to the inaccurate prophesy of the false prophets.  He saw Micaiah imprisoned and ill-treated for giving them a word of God. least he had sought and heard the word of God.

So what happens?  1 Kings 22:29, So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.  The end result was the same for both of the men.  Ahab who did not want to hear what the prophet of the LORD had to say went up to Ramoth-gilead anyway.  Jehoshaphat who did want to hear what the prophet of the LORD had to say went up to Ramoth-gilead anyway.  They both went up to war against the Syrian in spite of the prophet warning against doing so.  One went not wanting to hear the prophet.  The other went having desired to hear the prophet.  But they both went.

It very nearly cost Jehoshaphat his life. (1 Kings 22:31-33)  It did cost Ahab his life.  (1 Kings 22:34-38)

We must be careful about delighting to hear the word of God but ultimately dismissing the word of God!

James 1:22 - But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
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