To kings, two attitudes towards God’s word

By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist

An event in the records of the kings of Israel and Judah serves perfectly to illustrate the two general attitudes towards God’s word today. The event took place in the days of Ahab and Jehoshaphat. Ahab, whose wife was Jezebel, a name that immediately brings pictures of an evil woman to our minds, was king of Israel, the northern portion of the people of God and was known to be the most wicked of all the kings of Israel, all of which refused to serve God as instructed. Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, the southern portion of the nation and though he failed to measure up to David as king, he was much more true to God than any of those of Israel. Our account is recorded in the last chapter of I Kings, chapter twenty-two. Ahab sought to take back property that had been taken from Israel by Syria. He asked king Jehoshaphat if he would go to battle along side of Israel in their efforts to push out the Syrians, which Jehoshaphat agreed to do (verses 3-4). Now we get to the first indication of the attitudes of these two kings.

Jehoshaphat desired they consult a prophet of God to know the word of the Lord (verse 5). It was ever in the forefront of his thinking that God’s word should be consulted in all matters, before beginning any endeavor. When first entering into the promise land, Israel had been tricked into making a covenant with the Hivites because they “…asked not counsel of the Lord” (Josh. 9:14). That same attitude as held by Jehoshaphat is one that should be held by every person in this age as well. Though we need not seek out the prophets in person as did Israel of old, we do need to seek out the actual word of God. Paul said of the scriptures, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). Jesus had once said to the Pharisees of His day, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). This being the case, we really need to consult God’s word.

Ahab went through somewhat of an appearance of seeking to know the will of the Lord, but in fact he was seeking from the wrong source. Ahab was serving Baal rather than the God of heaven, even taking to wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal (I Kings 16:31) and thus gathered together some four hundred prophets of Baal to inquire of (verse 6). Jehoshaphat was not satisfied with the words of men speaking on behalf of Baal. He thus asked, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?” (verse 7). Listening to the words of a false teacher rather than what God said began in the garden of Eden when Eve listened to the serpent and disobeyed God. It has continued on to this day, wherein multitudes listen to some mere man, some uninspired book, their feelings or even peer pressure rather than diligently search the scriptures to find what God has commanded for themselves. The young prophet listened to the old prophet rather than do what God had told him, and he paid the price with his life (I Kings 13). Naaman first went to the king of Israel rather than the man of God, but it was only when he went to the man of God that he was healed from his leprosy. It is imperative

According to Ahab, there was yet one real prophet of God that was available, but he hated him because he did not speak good about him (verse 8). The prophet’s name was Micaiah and he vowed to speak only that which was truly God’s word. This last point for this brief article is that Ahab did not want to listen to what Micaiah had to say because Micaiah did not just cater to what king Ahab wanted to hear. Paul told Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). We sometimes come to realize that food that is good for us and food that is good to us is not necessarily the same. Multitudes seek out preachers and teachers that will speak things that make them feel good about themselves when in fact they need to be convicted of their sins by the preaching of the simple gospel of Christ. When the kingdom was first divided into Israel and Judah, Jeroboam set up two golden calves, one in Dan and one in Bethel and said, “…it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (I Kings 12:29). Those words may have provided convenience for those of Israel, but they defied the very word of God that required they go to Jerusalem to worship. Let us all strive to seek God’s word as given, abide by it and it only and cast aside all other means of guidance in Christianity.

By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

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Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]