Speaking What God Says

One of the most interesting stories in the entire Bible is found in 2 Chronicles 18. It’s a story of two kings (Jehoshaphat and Ahab) attempting to discern the will of the LORD regarding a battle they may fight together. After all of the prophets tell the kings to go and fight, Jehoshaphat asks if there is prophet of the LORD. (Apparently, the other “prophets” weren’t prophets of the true God). Ahab identified one such prophet, Micaiah, but added, “I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil.” So, they summon Micaiah to come and prophesy for them.

As he is on his way, Micaiah is told of the words of the prophets, that they all have counseled him to go to war. He is encouraged to sing the same tune before the king. I love his response, “As the LORD lives, what my God says, that I will speak” (2 Chronicles 18:13). Such ought to be the perspective of every man of God. Pastors are called to speak what God says.

In every age there have been those who seek to put forth their own ideas, rather than speaking what God says. This is because there have been those in every age who want “to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21). In every age, there are those who want nothing more than having their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3). There will always be “pastors” willing to fulfill this role.

The role of speaking what God says may be costly.

Back to Micaiah. When he entered the presence of the kings, he initially told the kings to go and fight. But Ahab, detecting that Micaiah wasn’t being up front with them demanded, “How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” So, Micaiah went on to prophesy defeat. Humorously, we read Ahab complaining, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

Micaiah went on to prophesy that Ahab would be killed in battle. Ahab ordered that Micaiah be thrown in prison and given minimal rations until he returns (and thereby proves Micaiah to be wrong). Micaiah responds, “If you indeed return safely, the LORD has not spoken by me.” Ahab increased the drama by pleading to everyone around, “Listen, all you people.”

God stood by Micaiah’s words. Ahab was killed by “a certain man [who] drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor.” He died and never returned, thereby proving Micaiah to be a true prophet who spoke what God says. It may be hard, but in the end, it is really the only way.


Writer Bias

Over the years I have always found that the autobiography is always better than the biography. It’s because the biographer has a bias and, in some way or another, he will distort the subject of his writing. This is why it’s so important to read the original documents if at all possible. They will give you clarity.

However, this is not always the case. Even the original documents may have a bias as well.

In my reading through 2 Chronicles, I came across the historical account of Solomon. I read of God’s blessing upon his life, the building of the temple, the visit of the Queen of Sheba, and a description of his riches and military might. However, I noticed a glaring hole. No account was given of his moral failures (of which you can read in 1 Kings 11). It struck me that even the historical documents have a bias as well. So, read with discernment.

Let’s Celebrate What God Hasn’t Done

I attended an open house yesterday for Morning Star Church, as they are celebrating the building that God has graciously given to them.  Pastor Ed Copeland preached an outstanding message from 2 Chronicles 5. I was greatly encouraged by the entire day. I want to share one point with you.

One of the greatest phrases in the Old Testament is “His lovingkindess endures forever.” It is repeated over and over and over again. See Psalms 100; 107; 136. It was the refrain that the entire congregation sang together at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 5:13).

In the King James Version, this phrase reads, “His mercy endureth forever.” This is a legitimate translation, focusing upon an aspect of the idea of this word. God’s lovingkindess endures forever because His mercy endures for ever.

Pastor Copeland made the comment something like this: “Too often we are so into celebrating what God has done, that we forget that our greatest blessing comes to us in what God hasn’t done.” For believers in Christ, God hasn’t punished us for our sins. He hasn’t delivered us over to condemnation. He hasn’t struck us dead in our rebellion against Him. Instead, He has shown mercy.

Let’s celebrate what God hasn’t done!