1 Kings 22:8 – “The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” NASU
I find this story both amusing and powerful. It is a uniquely human story. Here, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah was paying a visit of state to Ahab, the King of Israel. Ahab saw the visit as an excellent opportunity for him to acquire the services of Jehoshaphat in his quest to capture Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoshaphat was not against this action but because he was a religious man he desired to know the will of God in the matter. A truly committed person wants to hear from God.
I find it somewhat surprising that Ahab offered no resistance. It appears that he anticipated Jehoshaphat’s request and had prepared for it in advance. He called for 400 of his prophets and put the question to them, “Shall I go up to Ramoth-Gilead to battle or shall I forbear?” Not surprisingly, his prophets or puppets as it would seem in unison said, “Go up; for the Lord will shall deliver it into the hands of the King!”
On the surface that would be impressive. After, all 400 prophets all agreeing and giving the green light for the military action. However, Jehoshaphat was not fully satisfied. I believe that he sensed something amiss. These prophets were Ahab’s own and they were far more interested in pleasing the king that God. They were far more eager to speak the positive and popular thing to the king rather than the truth.
Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we may inquire of him?” One would have suspected Ahab to be offended at the request but evidently not. He said, “There is yet one-man Micaiah, the son of Imlah, but I hate him; for he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”
That is an amazing statement and I believe it is a clear confession of Ahab of at least three things that I would like to open for your consideration.
- It Is a Confession That He Does Not Believe His Own Prophets.
He wanted to but something inside knew that his ‘yes’ men were not being fully forthcoming and were being self-serving.
- It Is a Confession of His Faith in Micaiah.
He hated him because he told the truth and the truth did not often favor Ahab, but he knew that Micaiah spoke only what he heard from God.
- By His Statement, He is Acknowledging That He Prefers Those Who are Flatters to One Who Speaks Truth.
The apparent requirement to be in Ahab’s favor was to speak what the king wanted to hear, even if it was a lie.
That brings me to the thought that I want to present, and it may be somewhat painful if we are honest and open in our consideration. Ahab is not the only person that likes to be lied to. Most of us have argued that we hate to be lied to, but is that the truth? I believe that Ahab’s condition is one that is not uncommon to many people and maybe most people. We want to hear what is pleasing and favorable to us. A Lie, in certain situations, has its appeal. The Lie of Genesis that brought about the downfall of man in sin has been embraced from generation to generation.
One Reason the Liar Has a Measure of Popularity is That He Uses Flattery.
Before you protest too much, have you ever enjoyed hearing flattery? All of us like compliments and I suggest that we like them even if we know they are not the truth. We prefer that the compliments be sincere and given wisely and tastefully but we like them! Often, people like them so much they fail to scrutinize them too closely.
Let me give an illustration that highlights what I am contending. There was a man who declared that he did not like being complimented. He made his boast that he lived above the possibility of being flattered. One day a young book salesman who was aware of this man’s aversion to flattery came into the man’s office. He told the man that the characteristic that he admired about him above all else was the fact that he could not be flattered. The outcome of the interview was the man became so puffed up with his delight over the salesman’s compliments that he bought the book.
The Liar Appeals to Us by Strengthening Us in Our Decisions to Do as We Please.
Ahab had already made up his mind and the liars were appealing to his predetermined decision to go into battle. It is always flattering to hear from others that our decision is the right one, even if it is wrong.
The Liar Helps Us Become Comfortable While We Are Doing as We Please.
It is very difficult to be completely comfortable while we are doing what we know is or may be wrong. The Bible says, “There is no peace for the wicked.” We like to be made comfortable and the liar helps us achieve that sense of security and comfort.
I have more to say on this and hopefully, it is touching a redemptive cord in your hearts as it is in mine. We will pause here and pick this up in the next devotional.
God bless you as you enjoy His blessings on this beautiful day He has made.