On my plane ride home from Chicago, I decided to read I Kings.
It wasn’t until the end of the book that I felt something stirring within my heart.
The kings of Israel and Judah were going to combine forces to fight Ramothgilead of Aram.
Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, suggested that they inquire the word of the Lord before going to war. So the king of Israel gathered 400 prophets and ask them if Israel should go to war. All the prophets said that God will give victory. But Jehoshaphat asked if there were any other prophets and Israel’s king responded that there is, but that he hates him because the prophet never says anything good about him or anything in his favor. But Jehoshaphat insisted that they bring that prophet, Micaiah, to listen to his words.
So a messenger was sent to Micaiah, and the messenger basically said, “Hey, 400 other prophets were already asked about the war, and they all said that the kings of Israel and Judah will be victorious over Aram. So you should say the same things that the other 400 said.”
And here’s Micaiah’s response: “As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.”
I loved that response!
Because, there are those who will not preach what’s in their hearts because it will offend that person who happens to be the biggest monetary contributor of the church.
But the gospel, the message of Jesus, it’s not an easy thing. The Gospels show that many walked away from Jesus’ teaching. And Jesus never chased them down and said, ‘okay for you, you don’t have to do that. In fact, I won’t even preach about these things when I know you’re around.”
I like to speculate that as Micaiah walked towards the palace, that his heart was about to leap out of his chest. I’d like to think that Micaiah was scared and feared for his life.
But as he is getting closer, he starts praying and he remembers that he has nothing to fear for God is with him. He has faith and trusts in God. If this life is to end, he knows that he has an eternity in God’s presence.
And you know, I think Micaiah is my kind of prophet. When the king of Israel asked him what God said about the Lord, Micaiah responds (I like to think very sarcastically) “Go up and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”
The king responds by saying, don’t lie to me. Micaiah then speaks the word of God, in the presence of 2 kings and 400 prophets. His words were so offensive that one of the prophets stepped forward and slapped him. Then Micaiah was sentenced to prison with reduced rations of bread and water.
Micaiah must’ve known in his heart that this will not end well, but he refused to say things just to please the king, after all, he serves God, not the king.
May we speak the word that God has placed in our hearts, without fear.
I pray that we will not just be saying things just to keep the people of our church happy (or the powers to be in the UMC happy).
God is with us. Of what shall we be afraid of?