Uncompromising

In my recent daily Bible reading, I have spent some time in 2 Chronicles 17-20, reading of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.  In a long line of kings of Israel and Judah, a long line of men who failed to follow the Lord, Jehoshaphat did better than most. He sought God, followed His commandments, removed high places and Asherim from Judah. He sought to be like King David, and be a man with a heart for God. He did much good as the king of Judah.

Yet a key passage for me was 2 Chronicles 19:2-3:  And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you. Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.”

What I see here is that God’s standards are uncompromising, and since He is Holy, those standards are of the highest possible order. Even in the case of a good king like Jehoshaphat, a man sincerely trying to seek and obey the Lord, there is a rebuke at the beginning of 2 Chronicles 19 for his actions in militarily supporting Ahab, a wicked king of Israel. Jehoshaphat’s reign was one of reform and turning to the Lord, especially in times of trouble. The Lord delivered Judah for her enemies, but at the end of 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat again displeases God in his alliance with Ahaziah of Israel. God “broke” the ships they readied to go against Tarshish. When Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram succeeded him and killed all his brothers, I assume to secure his throne against possible contenders. Was this the fruit of Jehoshaphat’s wicked alliance with Ahaziah? I think that is a distinct possibility.

One can see in these chapters in 2 Chronicles a man trying to live for the Lord, trying to lead his nation back to the ways of God. Yet he stumbled at times and incurred the Lord’s displeasure. Given how the kings of Judah before and after Jehoshaphat behaved, you would think the Lord would cut him some slack. But God’s standards are uncompromising because He is Holy. We cannot please Him with half measures or going almost all the way for Him. Close might count in horseshoes, but it doesn’t get the job done with the Lord.

Not surprisingly, I find the story of Jehoshaphat points to Christ and our need for Him. Romans 8:1 talks of there being no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He meets the standards that we cannot, that men and women have never been able to meet. Even good men like Jehoshaphat or King David, who was a man after God’s own heart. It is humbling to stand before a God who is Holy, who will not compromise His Holiness and requires holiness from all who stand in His presence. Humbling to know that while we cannot meet His standards, He sent His Son who could and did meet them on our behalf so that we can stand in Christ before the Father and He will not see us but Jesus in us.

As we live in this troubled world it would be great if we could lead like Jehoshaphat, seeking to reform things and turn others back to the Lord as well. But we will fall short in our efforts because of who we are, and due to the fact that only Jesus in His Second Coming can truly make things right and keep them that way. In the meantime, let us be strong, bold and uncompromising in the Lord. Let us be strong and bold in knowing that His grace will overcome our failings.

We can do nothing but bring the news of Jesus to the world that desperately needs it. Nothing but let Him use us for His purposes in obedience to His will. The Lord requires nothing but we behave as faithfully as did His Son as He walked to His death on the Cross. As we cannot walk in such a way, He graciously provided the means for us to walk in Christ instead.

But that is enough for us to do in a situation that requires an uncompromising standard of performance and behavior that we are unable to meet.

 

Lovers of Darkness

My good friend, Dr. David R. Reagan, recently wrote an outstanding article titled, “How Did God Speak Through the Prophets.” He mentioned that the little known prophet, Micaiah, is one of his favorite prophets and he told the story about Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:1-38).

What Dr. Reagan said is better than anything I can come up with, but his article left me with a thought that I want to try to expand on.

Syria had captured the large city of Ramoth-gilead from the Northern Kingdom called Israel and the wicked Israeli king Ahab wanted it back. He saw the opportunity to get it back when the godly king Jehoshaphat visited him from the Southern Kingdom called Judah.

While they were talking Ahab asked Jehoshaphat if he would join him in a war against Syria to retake it. In essence, Jehoshaphat said he would, but he wanted Ahab to seek the will of the Lord first.

Ahab called about 400 prophets in (false prophets or prophets who thought their job was to tell the king what he wanted to hear) and they said, “Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”

This sounded a little suspicious to king Jehoshaphat so he asked king Ahab, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?” Jehoshaphat wanted God’s opinion not man’s opinion. He wanted the truth whether he liked it or not.

King Ahab replied, “There is one man, Micaiah …but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” King Jehoshaphat told king Ahab he shouldn’t say that and to satisfy the good king Jehoshaphat, Ahab sent for the prophet Micaiah.

While they were waiting for Micaiah to arrive, Ahab’s approximately 400 prophets assured him that the Lord would deliver Ramoth-gilead into his hands.

When Ahab’s servant reached Micaiah he told Micaiah what the other prophets said and urged him to “speak that which is good.” That is to say if you want to get along with the king, prophesy good things instead of bad things.

Micaiah’s response was, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.” His prophecy would be what the Lord says whether it is positive or negative. Skipping down to the end of the story for the sake of getting to the point, Micaiah said to Ahab:

“I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd.” He also told Ahab, “the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.”

Four things: 1) Israel would be defeated, 2) Ahab would die, 3) his prophets were lying to him, and 4) God’s judgment was coming instead of God’s blessing.

Micaiah was slapped in the face by one of Ahab’s prophets and he was cast into prison to receive nothing but bread and water until Ahab’s return from the battlefield. Nevertheless, Ahab listened to his lying prophets, Israel was defeated, he was killed and his body was buried in Samaria.

Many people are like Ahab because they don’t want to hear negative prophecy even if it comes from the Lord and even if it is true. And many preachers are like the prophet that slapped Micaiah in the face because they are not preaching the whole counsel of God and they resent those who are.

Paul told Timothy, “The time will come when they (most church members) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3).

The time will come when many church members will not listen to everything that is in the Word of God. They will listen to a positive message, but they will not listen to a negative message. They will bring in preachers that say things that make them feel good, but they will not tolerate preachers that say things they don’t want to hear. They will love darkness more than the truth.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com