Tuesday
Aug112009

The Things The Lord Tells Me To Say

The safest course is to preach what everybody else is preaching.

Even if you know it’s wrong.

That’s what the king’s officer told the prophet Micaiah, who was called by Ahab and Jehoshaphat to confirm the positive forecast of men like Zedekiah, who told the monarchs of Israel and Judah, 

 

“Thus says the Lord, ‘With these [iron horns] you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’ And all the prophets prophesied so and said, ‘Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king’” (First Kings 22:11-12).

 

Micaiah, however, was not for sale.

 

“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’” (First Kings 22:14).

 

God speaks to us much less directly today than when he employed a company of prophets to communicate his will to Israel. It is not that God has stopped speaking – he speaks today through the gospel message about his son (Hebrews 1:1-4). He speaks through the timeless, invincible New Testament and answered prayer (Romans 1:16, Ephesians 6:17). God even continues to enlist men to tell forth his will from those inspired pages – every Christian has some interest in sharing the gospel, but those men who endeavor to preach the gospel have a clear responsibility to behave as honorably as Micaiah described.

Micaiah told the truth – in his own inimitable way – and provoked the wrath of the king. Zedekiah struck him on the cheek and Ahab banished him to prison with only meager rations of bread and water. Preachers of his kind today risk similar slaps on the cheek and banishments when they insist on declaring God’s whole counsel and not the just the parts that majorities find palatable. They speak only “as one who speaks oracles of God” and sometimes the result is ejection from the pulpit or the cancellation of scheduled preaching appointments (First Peter 4:11). Others are ostracized among their peers or left to pick up the pieces in secular labor, but the spirit of Micaiah compels them to preach the word – even when it is out of season (see Second Timothy 3:16-4:5). Ahab buttered Zedekiah’s bread while Micaiah lived off crusts and crumbs, but Micaiah was the one God approved and that was – and is – all that matters.