Monday, February 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Prophets

Read 1 Kings 13

A word from the Lord is never something to take lightly. If it is a message for others, we make sure that it is delivered. If it is a word for meant for us, we cling to it. We find ourselves in eager anticipation of a promise to be fulfilled, or possibly on guard against a danger that would otherwise go undetected. Either way, instruction from the Lord is to be followed. He is our Lord, King of everything. It is ours to do His will.

False prophecy is extremely dangerous. Where a word from the Lord gives us light, a false prophecy can muddy the waters and obscure the dangers that we should avoid. We may suddenly find those very dangers to be quite enticing.

Look at the case of the prophet in this chapter of 1 Kings. The prophet had just delivered a message from the Lord to the king of Judah. At the moment of prophesy there was also a sign from the Lord as confirmation of its truth. Knowing this, and knowing very well his instructions, the prophet chose to listen to the words of another who claimed to have a message from God. He accepted that message, knowing it was contrary to the word that God had given him. Why would he do this? The man was offering him food. He had come a long way, and was surely hungry. He had to know that this man was lying, but it was easier to believe the lie and take the easier path. Some food and drink had to sound pretty good.

Read 1 Kings 22: 1-39

Here we see Ahab willingly listening to a lie. He even seeks out prophets who will tell him what he wants to hear and knowingly ignores the prophet of the Lord. He says it plainly to Jehoshaphat when he asks.

1 Kings 22: 7-8

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?”
The King answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.

Jehoshaphat knows very well that these prophets are unreliable. He asks for a prophet of the LORD. When he hears Ahab’s response he warns him of such talk. They then call for Micaiah and promptly choose to ignore the warning in the word that he gives them from the LORD. He even goes so far as to throw Micaiah into prison and puts him on bread and water until he safely returns.

How often do we find ourselves in the shoes of this prophet and king? We have the Word of God. We have the Bible, God’s word written for us. We have at times a word from God to us, known to be true. The LORD’s instruction isn’t always easy. His words aren’t always telling us things we want to hear. Rest assured though, that His words are the way it is going to be. That other voice, the one telling us what we want to hear, is only trying to lead us astray.

God does not go back on His word. Read the Bible. Study it. Take His word in as the sustenance it is meant to be. When we are filled with His word and His spirit there is no room for the garbage that tries to tempt us and lead us astray. If you know what God has said on the issue, it isn’t all that hard to spot the lies. You also need to pray that you do not succumb to them. False prophecy is tempting. It is also deadly.

We have to make the choice, and there is only one right one. Either God is the Lord of our lives, or he isn’t. He is either the King of all, or he isn’t. We are called to be a part of His kingdom. If we don’t follow His path we will find that we don’t like where the one we have chosen leads, no matter how much more appealing it may be in the beginning.