Friday, April 29, 2011

One Dumb Move

I was writing my last sermon in 1 Kings.  It is the last chapter in the book in which Kings Ahab and Jehoshaphat are hanging out as kings sometimes do and Ahab asks Jehoshaphat to help him in war against the king of Syria.  The problem is that Jehoshaphat was a follower of the Lord and Ahab was anything but and so Jehoshaphat shouldn't have been "hanging" with him to start with.  But at least he asks King Ahab to dig up a true prophet to see what the Lord says.  They had listened to 400 "yes men" tell them God was going to give them victory and Jehoshaphat wisely didn't trust them to tell the truth.
What follows is a fascinating account of how Micaiah is faithful to relate accurately what God had told him and the persecution that followed him by those who didn't want to hear what God has to say.  We even have a look at the very throne room of God and one way he accomplishes his will among the affairs of men.  I get to the end of my sermon, click save and go about my business and a little later it dawns on me I probably missed the most obvious and fascinating detail of the whole account in vs. 29, "So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead."

Jehoshaphat is the one who got this whole thing started by wanting to know the Lord's will. He gets it in one of the most unique "church services" he has ever been in and then he walks out the door and completely ignores it! I can understand Ahab doing this, although even Ahab tries to hedge his bets by disguising himself, but why on earth does Jehoshaphat go into battle when he knows better?

It would seem there were times when he didn't take God's Word any more seriously than Ahab did. As a pastor I have seen this happen quite often. The Bible gives us insight into all areas of life. It explains why we have the problems we do, how to overcome them, the pitfalls of not obeying the Lord; it explains why following God is always better and on and on we could go. It is a bright light to shine on our way and all we have to do is follow it. Yet it is not unusual to say amen to all the pastor says, get up, walk out and never consider again what you just heard. At least this seems to happen when you watch people fall into the same traps time and time again.

To be fair, all pastors and this one in particular do the same thing. But it is particularly sad to see someone come to you for help and you do your best to tell them what the Lord says and they decide that they will continue to search for other advice and eventually are overtaken in their sin. I can feel for Micaiah. As you read through the account it is obvious that he has become somewhat jaded to how Ahab treats the Word of the Lord but he is still faithful to relate it to him whether he wants to hear it or not.

Two applications: First, Let's be careful to take God's Word seriously and not go through the religious show of church and Bible reading only to go out and take our cues from the spirit of this age. This is what the lost do and when we do it, it is especially reprehensible to the Lord. I didn't expect other people's children to listen carefully to me and obey but I certainly did my own children and it is unnatural for a child to scorn their parents counsel and fellowship. To have the privilege to hear from God and ignore it has to be the dumbest move possible.

Secondly, pray for your pastor that he will proclaim the truth as he sees it and that the truth he sees is from the Lord. Every preacher can be tempted to water things down for one reason or another but if we do that, the people suffer.


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