Today’s Bible reading is 2 Chronicles 18 and Mark 4.
In 2 Chronicles 18, King Jehoshaphat, whose heart “was courageous in the ways of the LORD” (17:6), made a near-fatal mistake. “He made a marriage alliance with Ahab,” king of Israel (18:1). After some years, Ahab proposed a joint war effort to recapture Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians. Jehoshaphat’s only request? “Inquire first for the word of the LORD.”
Ahab easily gathered 400 prophets who would tell him exactly what he wanted to hear: “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” Jehoshaphat wisely inquired, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?” Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from Yahweh. Finally, the king of Israel reluctantly acknowledged, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil” (18:7).
What a window into Ahab’s heart! Michaiah never told Ahab what he wanted to hear. It was always rebukes, corrections, and calls for repentance from Michaiah (and if you know anything about Ahab, you know why). Even the thought of Michaiah grated on Ahab’s nerves. “I hate him,” the king straightforwardly revealed.
Jehoshaphat eventually compelled Ahab to send for Michaiah.
And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” (2 Chron 18:12-13)
Here’s a point worth thinking about this week: do the people in my life have permission to tell me what I need to hear? Is my heart humble enough to consistently give them the green light to say what needs to be said? Have my past actions and reactions demonstrated a willingness to respond to the truth, even when it steps on my toes? Have I shown a real desire to become more like Jesus? To keep in step with the Spirit? To be the best version of me I can possibly be?
Husbands and wives, we all have blind spots. Let’s love each other enough to tell and hear the truth about ourselves.
Fathers and mothers, our children are works in progress. Let’s love them enough to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Let’s remember that sometimes, the most powerful teaching moments are when we are willing to acknowledge our own shortcomings to them.
Let’s be thankful for preachers and teachers who love us enough to preach the word, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting us with complete patience and teaching (2 Tim 4:2).
Let’s obey our shepherds and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over our souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to us (Heb 13:17).
How thankful we ought to be for brothers and sisters in Christ who care enough to admonish us when we are idle, encourage us when we are fainthearted, and help us when we are weak (1 Thes 5:14).
Ahab’s heart had grown so hard that he hated Michaiah for telling him the truth. Want something bold to pray this week? Let’s pray for people who love us enough to tell us the truth. Then, before we say “Amen,” let’s pray for the wisdom to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).