Articles/Illustrations of Faith, Quotes, poetry and devotions…
Smokey Barn News Sunday January 4, 2015 Robertson County, Tenn.
“The Sunday Post” is a non denominational column comprised of articles of Faith, poetry and devotions…
An Old Testament Lesson Can Bring Us Victory In 2015
Our text this morning is (click link to read – 1 Kings 22:1-40) Please read the chapter carefully and prayerfully before reading today’s study.
The chapter deserves much more attention than can be given today. It is rich in theology and tells us much about the minds of these historical men, how they adjust things to suit themselves and how we find that not much has changed for us today.
Is it ever right to do wrong in order to do right? Is there ever a case in which it is acceptable to make an alliance with the wicked? Are we quick to set aside truth for some perceived benefit that we might gain? Can we learn a spiritual lesson from Jehoshaphat that will lead us to victory in 2015?
We are commanded to separate from the world and yet all too often we wear the same clothes, watch the same worldly programs on television, and fail to keep the Lord’s Day. We even find ourselves seeking counsel from friends and colleagues that we feel certain will agree or support our ideas and plans just as King Ahab did over 2000 years ago.
Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
According to 1 Kings 22:22 they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel and THEN, THEN Jehoshaphat (the good king of Judah) was asked by the wicked king of Israel (Ahab) to join in battle against Syria to assist him in recapturing Ramoth-gilead. It all begins with compromise! Although the two agreed to a good cause (to fight the enemy) God is never pleased or honored when we make an alliance with the wicked.
Ahab also sought the advice of 400 (false) prophets and and they all said the same thing, that victory is sure, so they must be right? God will surely give Ramoth gilead into the hands of Ahab, right? These so called prophets were hired to tell the king whatever he wanted to hear. Their number one goal was to gain and keep his favor (1 Ki. 22:6, 11-12). They wanted popularity more than truth.
However, Jehoshaphat still wanted to hear from a true prophet of God and asked King Ahab is there not such a one to be found in all the land. Although, Jehoshaphat was not totally clean. According to 1 Ki. 22:4 he had already agreed to an alliance with Ahab before suggesting that they seek the word of the Lord from a true prophet. It appears as if Jehoshaphat was willing to obey God but only as long as God’s message was in alignment with what he wanted to hear. It is true that if we want to find a passage of scripture to justify a sin, any sin, we could probably find it. Is our attitude toward truth ever like that of Jehoshaphat’s?
“It is one thing to wish to have truth on our side, and another to wish sincerely to be on the side of truth.” – Richard Whately
Listen as the record of the Holy Spirit speaks to us from the pages of this Book of the Kings.
1 Kings 22:7-8 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
Ahab is like so many today who would rather believe a lie than to hear the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Even in the most wicked of places God leaves a witness. No man can say I never heard, or no one ever told me the truth. God is always faithful even when we are not. One such man of iron in the Old Testament is a little known prophet by the name Micaiah. (Ma-ka-i, we get Micah and Michael from it) Micaiah is God’s man but we do not find him in a bejeweled pulpit with a robe on his back and a big black Bible under his arm as the narrative opens, we find him in jail.
The truth is that it is only men like Micaiah who can help us. It is they who will tell us the truth and only the truth can set us free. It is only men like Micaiah that love us enough to offend us with the truth even through sacrifice or pain in order that our souls may be saved and victory our claim.
People on earth hate to hear the words, Salvation and Repentance. People in Hell wish they could hear them just one more time. – Unknown
Israel is divided into ten tribes in the North under Ahab and two tribes in the South under the good King Jehoshaphat. Ahab followed the idols of Baal while Jehoshaphat followed Jehovah and the two men should have never had anything to do with one another. But they were related by marriage. This unholy alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab affected the next generation and the next as the families of both kings intertwined resulting in 15 years of tragedy for the kingdom of Judah. Do you see how easily our plans to live a godly life can be compromised by failing to keep the whole counsel of God?
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you
Syria is in possession of an Israeli city and Ahab wants it back. He is afraid he may not be strong enough to handle the job on his own. So he sends for his brother in law in the south, namely the good King Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat arrives and he begins to talk about what they should do. Ahab tells Jehoshaphat that all the prophets of Baal have told him to go up against the King of Syria who is holding Ramoth in Gilead. With the help of his brother in law he feels he will be strong enough to drive the Syrians out of his land. Jehoshaphat should have not come within ten miles of the place and he knew Ahab worshiped idols and God would never bless such a mess.
If you have read the chapter you know that Micaiah has been released from jail to come and speak kind words to the wicked King Ahab. He is to say the same thing the false prophets of Baal are saying. Namely, you will be successful in your attack on Syria. Don’t worry about a thing. Micaiah is instructed not to cause any trouble. But the old prophet said I will speak what God has told me to speak.
1 Kings 22:13-14 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.
But the man of God cannot be easily swayed and he tells his jailer that he will speak what God has told him to speak even if it means he goes right back to prison. John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progess was in jail for 12 years for preaching. He was released on the condition he would cease his preaching or he would find himself back in jail. He preached the same day of his release and was jailed again only to continue writing books that have change so many lives for nearly five centuries. If you have never read Pilgrim’s Progress I hope you will. It is only second to the Bible in sales.
Micaiah was hated because he was truthful. Jesus was hated because He is truthful, the only way, and the life. When a man is hated for being good or for being honest society is in a very bad shape indeed and judgment cannot be far off.
We need only to read the daily news to know that we are in the last days and in desperate need of pastors and preachers today that would dare to be like Micaiah of old. Micaiah feared only God and hated only sin.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Now things really get comical when Micaiah says to Ahab the same thing the false prophets have said. Go up Ahab, to the battle, you will be successful. Notice the reaction of Ahab to the prophet of God whom he hates because he never says anything good about him.
1 Kings 22:15-16 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth gilead to battle, or shall we (refrain) forbear? And he answered him, (very sarcastically) Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?
God’s truth is not always a pleasant or a seemingly positive thing to hear. Sometimes it’s like bitter medicine yet brings us needed healing. If we heed God’s word we experience healing for our souls, our land and a life abundant and eternal.
Ahab knows Micaiah cannot lie and when asked again to tell him the truth Micaiah tells him in detail how Ahab will be defeated and how he will die from an arrow just shot into the air with no particular target. (1 Kings 22:35) However, that arrow was on a direct mission, almost like a guided missile led by God’s own hand of judgment, as it struck between the shoulder blades of Ahab’s armor. He was killed even though he had put on the clothes of an ordinary soldier as a disguise so not to attract attention to him being the King.
The only man who loved Ahab was Micaiah and he loved him enough to tell him the truth. God loves us like that. He tells us the truth and if we do not heed it we too will die lost in our sins and a very dark Hell may be our portion at any moment. Ahab had selective hearing and only wanted to hear from those he agreed with or that told him only positive words with a sweet savor and thus he had sealed his fate and his brother in law, King Jehoshaphat, went home to a very stern rebuke from another of God’s prophets.
2 Chronicles 19:2 And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.
Of course the answer to that is obvious, we should not.
God never wants His people to partner or team up with the ungodly whether it be in worship or business. We are called according to his purpose and plans and there is no concord between Christ and Belial. There will always be an Ahab striving to conquer a Ramoth-gilead but let us be diligent in our walk with the Lord that we do not fall for an appealing campaign such as the banquet that was presented to Jehoshaphat. May we follow in the footsteps of Micaiah to always stand on the side of truth regardless of the sacrifice, or the pain it may cause or the seemingly unpleasant consequences that may follow. For if God be for us, who can be against us!
Indeed, “It is never right to do wrong in order to do right”
1 John 4:4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Psalms Chapter 1: 1-3Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Time as we know it is winding down and the return of our Lord is soon and just like Ahab, we can not afford to have selective hearing. May we hear the whole counsel of God’s truth and follow with obedience in the coming new year.
-Pastor Brown Sims
……for with obedience flows God’s bountiful blessings.
An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6).
An inheritance that can never be lost (I Peter 1:3-5).
A deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Corinthians l:10).
A grace that can never be limited (2 Corinthians 12:9).
A hope that can never be disappointed. (Hebrews 6:18, 19).
A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (I Colossians 3:21-23).
A joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11).
A nearness to God that can never be reversed (Ephesians 2:13).
A peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27).
A righteousness that can never be tarnished (2 Corinthians 5:21).
A salvation that can never be canceled (Hebrews 5:9).
– F.E. Marsh.
“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the R-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”
Lord God, please direct our steps and show us how to love you more than our own normal, busy lives. Please show us how to live for you above all else this year.
– Biblical Homemaking
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“You either believe God (that’s revelation), or you believe speculation. Faith must be anchored in something.”