“But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.’” (2 Chronicles 18:13)
Chapter 18 of second Chronicles opens with Jehoshaphat entering into a marriage alliance with Ahab king of Israel. I don’t understand why Jehoshaphat did this, since Ahab was notorious for wickedness. No good could possibly come out of this alliance. At any rate, Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to join him in going to battle against Ramoth-gilead. Jehoshaphat agreed, but first he wanted to inquire for the word of the Lord. 400 of Ahab’s prophets prophesied favorably regarding the battle’s outcome, but Jehoshaphat wasn’t satisfied. Reluctantly, Ahab had to summon Micaiah, the prophet whom he hated because he never prophesied good concerning him. Ahab’s messenger pressured Micaiah to join the other prophets in speaking favorably, but Micaiah was resolved to speak only what God speaks. And that is precisely what he did: he prophesied that Ahab would die in this battle. As a consequence, Ahab commanded that Micaiah be put in prison.
There is a lesson here for us who preach. We preach not to please men, but to faithfully communicate God’s Word even if it means displeasing those to whom we preach and incurring their ire. Of course, we must speak the truth in love, but it is still the truth that we must speak. As Paul says, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
Lord, give me the courage to speak the truth in love even if it means wounding others out of faithfulness to you and to their souls. Amen.
“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 17:3-6)
Once again we see a demonstration of the principle that righteous living brings tremendous blessing. My understanding is that during Old Testament times the Lord’s SOP, so to speak, was to reward obedience with temporal blessings because his people were still in their spiritual infancy, and they needed material and visible props to strengthen their faith. Today to walk by faith means not to walk by sight. This means we are not dependent on circumstances to determine whether God is favorable to us. As long as our hearts are right with God we know that we are blessed whatever our circumstances might be. We are content whether we experience abundance or want because God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places. But still the principle holds true that those who seek God and walk according to his commandments will be blessed by him, if not materially, then spiritually – the latter being the greater blessing by far. I find it interesting that Jehoshaphat’s heart is described as being courageous in the ways of the Lord. I think it had something to do with his being counter-cultural. He did not walk according to the practices of Israel. He did not follow the ungodly ways of the culture and social environment that surrounded him. Instead, he sought to be different by walking in God’s commandments even if everyone else was walking in the opposite direction. This is what true courage means.
Lord, please give me a heart that is truly courageous like Jehoshaphat’s. Help me to walk according to your commandments even if this runs counter to how most people live nowadays. Amen.