With God, majority doesn’t always rule. Even when we’re enticed by hundreds, or thousands, to make decisions based on approval in numbers, it only takes one to represent the truth. The truth can be hard to hear, when it challenges the very fiber of our flesh; however, in some cases, it isn’t intended to appease us, it’s meant to convict us. I do love to hear what I want to hear, don’t we all? But I so much more desire to hear honesty, raw and real as it may be, and that is what we always get with God. With people though, we must be on guard when claims are made that they speak for God. It can get messy as we see with Ahab, a king of Israel who did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and the prophet Micaiah, in 1 Kings 22.
Ahab recruited a willing Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to go into battle with the Arameans to reacquire Ramoth Gilead (22:4). At the request of Jehoshaphat to “first seek the counsel of the Lord,” Ahab mustered up about 400 prophets to counsel him as he prepared to enter into war, and all of them claimed that the Lord is in support of him (22:5-6). Jehoshaphat urged for further prophetic counsel, and Ahab reluctantly admitted that there’s one man, Micaiah, but that he hated him because he never prophesied anything good about him (22:7-8). Childish much? Perhaps, but Ahab’s distaste for someone who won’t tell him what he wants to hear is all too common for us today, too. Our culture urges us to tell others niceties that’ll tickle their self sensitive ears, but Scripture instead urges us on to disregard telling even half truths if they go against sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3).
Even though Micaiah was told by the messenger sent to summon him to be in agreement with the 400 prophets, to “let [his] word agree with theirs, and speak favorably,” he said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me” (22:13-14). After some back and forth between the two men, Micaiah tells the truth, saying, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ ‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all of his prophets,’ he said. ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ So now the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you” (22:19-23).
Let those loaded five verses sink in for awhile! To entice is “to attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage,” so it’s safe to assume when we’re drawn to something (or someone) that gives us pleasure or advantage, we must discern like crazy. Are we attracted because it feels good to our flesh? Like Ahab, who didn’t stand a chance against the decreed will of God which ordained 400 prophets to lie to him, but instead went ahead with his own desires even after being told the truth by one prophet, Micaiah. Ahab wanted what he wanted and not even one truth teller could sway him away from the 400 liars who tickled his ears and affirmed him. This can be a litmus test as we encounter questionable situations. Not to say that we’ll be destined to death, as Ahab was, if we make unwise choices when confronted with the truth, but there will be ripple effects when we knowingly ignore His revealed word. Many times, these instances will provide us with painful progress in our sanctification as we intentionally disregard straight talk from God and go into the battle anyways.
Jesus says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Paul admonishes us to know sound doctrine so we can discern the truth from the lies, the difference between the not-so-sound doctrine and the oh-so-close doctrine that pervades our churches still. In 1 Timothy 4:16, he says “to watch your life and doctrine closely.” We can gather from his words that, as subtly as some may suggest that doctrine isn’t of importance to the Christian believer, discovering what sound doctrine is greatly assists us in fulfilling the dual role of shrewdness and innocence. Without this increasing knowledge, our naivety may cause us to be devoured or, more appropriately, deceived by the wolves.
Those other-than sound doctrines are running rampant in our churches, growing a mass amount of followers, holding loosely the perspicuity of Scripture, claiming peace where division is to be had in the name of ecumenism. We must consider all that we’re hearing by this majority and compare it to the One that defines what sound doctrine is. The One who determines what the rule is. If there are inconsistencies, we search deeper, research and test like the Bereans were known for (Acts 17:11). Don’t fall prey to the tickling teasers that draw us in to be deceived; instead, fall into your cozy chair, open the Bible, and find His Truth, raw and real. It’s in there.