Have you ever heard someone saying to a pastor after a Church Service … “You preached at me” or “You betrayed a confidence” or “How did you know that about me?” Some may say this in jest but some say it in anger. Mostly the preacher does not know what is going on in the life of the hearers and when he expounds the Bible faithfully, but the Holy Spirit targets something in a person’s heart and life and they think the preacher targeted them personally. This is definitely not the case … but God knows!
Then, often people come for counseling but do not put into practice what the pastor or counselor advisers. I have had people leave in anger, swear at and insult me … but to be Biblical a pastor, counselor or preacher, he needs to say what the Bible says. There is another prophet who experienced the same problem. You remember king Ahab, the wicked king of Israel? (Please read through 1 Kings 22:1-28.) The chapter starts with him speaking to Jehoshaphat king of Judah and his own officials about a piece of territory he felt belonged to Israel and not Aram. He asks Jehoshaphat for help … who agrees but requires they
1Ki 22:5 “First seek the counsel of the LORD.”
Once again this evil king calls false prophets together for advice. Remember, everyone is afraid of the king because he was known for putting people and prophets to death who did not support him and his wicked ways.
1Ki 22:6 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
Notice their expected response … “Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” Naturally as king this is exactly what he wanted to hear … however, Jehoshaphat asked:
1Ki 22:7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?”
Did you see that? He wanted to consult a prophet of the LORD (YAHWEH). Ahab remember there is one left … he was not aware of chapter 19:18 because he was an earthly king, yet the King of kings reserved 7000 prophets for Himself. Look at Ahab’s response:
1Ki 22:8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man 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.”
Once again the true colors of this king comes to the fore.
1) Ahab hated Micaiah because he told the truth. This is the issue I spoke of above! The king admitted Micaiah could “inquire of the LORD”. He saw him as a true man of the true God but he could never understand why the prophecies were always against him. The reason was his evilness. He did not want to hear the truth from God just as many people today don’t want to hear what God has to say to them through a sermon or a counseling session. One of the fundamental aspects of real Christianity is to be able to hear and accept what God is saying to you. Many fight against it, leave the church or switch off during the message. God knows about that though and He will constantly remind the person of it.
2) Jehoshaphat seems to be more cautious, maybe godly. “The king should not say that,” Jehoshaphat replied. Whether Ahab listened to Jehoshaphat in agreement or to please him, he called for Micaiah the prophet. (v9). The picture we see from a human perspective is quite illustrious!
1Ki 22:10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria.
All the pomp and authority of two kings from two states. Around them were
1Ki 22:10 … all the prophets prophesying before them. 11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the LORD says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’ ” 12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”
The one who went to call Micaiah pleaded that he say exactly what the other “prophets” were saying to please the king. (v13). Yet Micaiah is God’s man and responds:
1Ki 22:14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me.”
He will not be bullied or coerced into what man wants to hear, even if that man is a king! This is the type of pastors and preachers we need today. God’s men staying true to God’s Word. The sad thing today is that many pastors and preachers play to the gallery. They tell the people what they want to hear and in turn the people give them what they want … popularity and money! Having heard what the king wanted to hear and knowing what God wanted him to say, he played the king.
1Ki 22:15 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”
3) Ahab’s hatred is demonstrated publically.
1Ki 22:16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” 17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” 18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
Here’s the point … whether he told the truth or a lie the king took it as a lie. The king preferred like so many today to hear lies and received them as truth. The result is that the people of God (sheep) scatter because they have no true pastor (shepherd). We will come back to Micaiah tomorrow, but what is God’s response to this?
Mt 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
When pastors and preachers are not true men of God they tell the people lies and the people scatter spiritually.
Dear God, please raise up godly men, doctrinally astute and gospel focused to fill our pulpits to teach Your Word faithfully to feed the flock, gathering them together and proclaiming the Gospel of the Risen Jesus truthfully to win souls for Your Cause and Kingdom. Father, souls are so precious and eternal, mercifully bring many to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour for Your glory. Amen.