The Truth of God may not always be what we want to hear, but it is always what we need to hear. Before King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah engage in battle against Aram, King Jehoshaphat advises King Ahab that they should seek Word from the Lord God through one of His prophets. As in the time of King David, this custom was common before engaging in battle. Prior to going to war, kings would inquire of the Lord through one of His prophets as to whether or not God would grant victory against their enemies. If God’s prophecy was in favor of His people, they would be confident engaging in war. But if not, the kings would rethink going into battle. In this instance, Ahab inquires of prophets in the country who he knows will speak in favor of his decision to fight. Of all the prophets in Israel, Ahab knows that there is only one prophet who truly speaks on behalf of God. His name is Micaiah. But Ahab does not want to seek Micaiah’s prophecy because he always prophesies only disaster upon Ahab. In other words, Ahab does not like to hear what God has to say through Micaiah. Instead, Ahab would rather listen to the other prophets affirm his own decisions, regardless of whether or not they actually come to fruition.
Sometimes we don’t like what God reveals to us either through His Word or through His people. But if what we hear from God is true, we do well when we allow it to have weight in our own decisions. When King Ahab summons Micaiah, he receives from him a prophecy that foretells the king’s death if he goes to war: “All Israel [is] scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd.” But Ahab’s response to this prophecy is one of dismissal. He says to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster?” He will ignore Micaiah’s prophecy, and die in battle shortly after this. Ahab will refuse the opportunity to let God’s revelation of Truth preserve his life.
Do we heed God’s Truth when He gives it to us? As imperfect people, there are parts of God’s Word which are more difficult to accept than others. Sometimes questions about anger, justice, patience or forgiveness are answered in God’s Word in ways that we don’t want to hear. Other times, God’s Word prompts within us warning or direction that we are reluctant to follow. The sad story of King Ahab reminds us that we benefit from receiving and responding in faith to God’s Truth, and also that we are lost without it. Regardless of whether it is easy or difficult to accept we must trust God enough to heed His Truth.