12/07/M – Words of Appeasement and Words of Truth

1 Kings 22:1-28; Acts 13:26-37; Psalms 138:7-8; Proverbs 29:12-14

OT: “There was a lull of three years without war between Aram and Israel. However, in the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit the king of Israel. The king of Israel had said to his servants, “Don’t you know that Ramoth-gilead is ours, but we’re doing nothing to take it from the king of Aram?” So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight Ramoth-gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” But Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “First, please ask what the Lord’s will is.” So the king of Israel gathered the prophets, about four hundred men, and asked them, “Should I go against Ramoth-gilead for war or should I refrain?” They replied, “March up, and the Lord will hand it over to the king.” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord here anymore? Let’s ask him.” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man who can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” “The king shouldn’t say that!” Jehoshaphat replied… Then Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and the whole heavenly army was standing by him at his right hand and at his left hand. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to march up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? ’ So one was saying this and another was saying that. “Then a spirit came forward, stood in the Lord’s presence, and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “The Lord asked him, ‘How?’ “He said, ‘I will go and become a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ “Then he said, ‘You will certainly entice him and prevail. Go and do that.’ “You see, the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has pronounced disaster against you.”” (‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭22:1-8, 19-23‬ ‭CSB)

King Ahab of the Northern kingdom of Israel surrounded himself with about 400 “prophets” that would tell him exactly what he wanted to hear and strengthen him in his resolve. When Jehoshaphat, the godly king of the Southern kingdom of Judah, partnered with Ahab to go to battle against Aram (Syria), Jehoshaphat didn’t want to hear from Ahab’s band of prophets. He wanted to hear the true word of the  Lord – so he asked for a prophet of the Lord. Due to Ahab’s rejection of the Lord for the idols of the land, the Lord didn’t have a lot of encouraging things to say to Ahab – so Ahab had run all the prophets of the Lord off… except for Micaiah. After some strong urging from Jehoshaphat, Ahab sent for Micaiah… and as Ahab expected, Micaiah didn’t bring any words of encouragement. Micaiah explained that because Ahab had rejected the word of the Lord, the appeasing voices that Ahab had surrounded himself with were going to lure him to his demise. It is really easy to fall into the trap of only listening to “prophetic voices” that appease your ears and say what you want to hear. At the same time, it is easy to fall into the temptation of only saying what people want to hear. When I write my daily devotions, because I post them to Facebook, there is a temptation to write things that will garner “likes” from the people that “friend” me. So I have to remind myself that I am not writing these devotional thoughts to garner likes or build a following. I write these thoughts so that people will have an opportunity to be exposed to the true Biblical gospel. Also, as a practice, I do not listen to prophetic voices that I do not know, nor do I listen to commentators that are trying to build a following. I listen to trusted voices that line up with the word of God and are not trying to promote themselves over the truth. How can I know what is the truth and what is merely words of appeasement, you may ask. The Holy Spirit can help you with that. The Holy Spirit not only gives the gift of discerning of spirits, He also graces us to grow in our ability to discern between truth and deception. There are a lot of voices out there vying for your attention, your clicks, and your forwards. Condition your ears and your heart to the truth by hiding the word of God in your heart. Submit to the voice of the Holy Spirit and trusted, proven leaders who speak the truth and don’t just tell you what you want to hear.

Psalms: “If I walk into the thick of danger, you will preserve my life from the anger of my enemies. You will extend your hand; your right hand will save me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Lord, your faithful love endures forever; do not abandon the work of your hands.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭138:7-8‬ ‭CSB)

These two verses of Psalm 138, written by King David, are encouraging words of truth. Though they may sound similar to the words of appeasement that were given by the 400 false prophets of Ahab, there is a difference. These words of hope and encouragement… that God will preserve our lives and save us from the dangers that surround us, are given in the context of the first six verses of this psalm. In those verses, David talked about worshipping God and God alone… praising and thanking God with all of his heart… humbly submitting to the Lord’s word, will, and ways. Promises that come from God are always contingent on our faithfulness to worship the Lord exclusively and obey His word, will, and ways to our fullest ability. Also, David didn’t write that God would give him an easy life… that he wouldn’t face challenges. On the contrary, he wrote that he would face challenges… that there would be times when he would be surrounded by enemies that were angry with him. David’s hope wasn’t that God would give him an easy life of comfort. David’s hope was that God would fulfill the purposes that He had for David, even in the midst of challenges and trials. Those are words of truth that we can apply to our lives. As we remain committed to God’s purposes by grace through faith, God will protect and preserve our lives until those purposes are fulfilled… and He will even use the bad things that happen to us and around us to accomplish the good that He has in store for us.

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