A few days ago I finished reading 1st Kings, which ends with the story of story of Micaiah. A good friend of mine calls him “Prophet 401.”
Here’s a summary:
Judah and Israel have been politically divided for some time, ruled by separate kings. The vast majority of these kings (both in Israel and Judah) were wicked and unfaithful to the Lord. Now Ahab was the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. At this point Israel had enjoyed three years of peace with its enemy Syria.
This would soon change. Jehoshaphat approached Ahab and asked him to join him in battle against Syria. He suggested they inquire of the Lord to see if such a campaign would be victorious.
Ahab gathered around four hundred prophets, all of whom unanimously assured the kings of a successful battle. One of these so-called prophets even used a visual aid to enthusiastically predict victory (1st Kings 22:11).
But Jehoshaphat wasn’t completely convinced. He wondered if there was anyone else they could inquire of. “There is one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord,” Ahab replied, “but I hate him.” It seems this particular prophet never had anything positive to say about the king of Israel or his future. They sent for him, hoping he would agree with the other 400 and finally bring a positive message.
Enter Micaiah, Prophet 401. The king’s messenger told him what had transpired and encouraged him to approve of their plans to go to war. I love the way Micaiah responds: “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak” (1st Kings 22:14). Micaiah was not impressed with royalty or swayed by popular opinion. His only concerned was being completely faithful to God.
Micaiah’s harsh prophecy was not good news for the kings. He told Ahab Israel would soon be like “sheep that have no shepherd.” This enraged the king, but Micaiah wasn’t finished: he went on to say the heavenly host were conspiring against Ahab, using the 400 false prophets as divine instruments.
Micaiah paid a high price for delivering this message. One of the false prophets immediately punched him in the face and accused him of speaking falsely. The king ordered that Micaiah be sent to prison and be given only the absolute minimal amount of bread and water for survival.
Ahab ignored the warning and went ahead with the ill-conceived battle plan. He even disguised himself so the Syrians could not identify him as king. But the Lord had spoken: a “random” arrow struck Ahab in the small place between his armor. He died that day, paying the ultimate price for his arrogance.
I can see parallels between the Micaiah’s story and our current spiritual environment. We have a multitude of false preachers who ignore inconvenient biblical truths in favor of their own agendas (the gay “marriage” issue comes to mind). But God will always have His remnant—people who will follow Him faithfully. Consider Paul’s charge to Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
-2nd Timothy 4:1-4
What matters most to you—the approval of people or God? Are you willing to be the only person in your class, office, or group of friends who will speak for the Lord? Will you stand on the unchanging truths of Scripture, even if doing so makes you unpopular? God is looking for more 401’s.
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