PROPHESY GOOD TO US!
This is what King Ahab and the people of Israel wanted from their prophets (preachers), and so it is today in our society. According to 1 Kings 22 the story plays out as follows: Jehoshaphat, the godly king of Judah, came to pay a visit to Ahab, the wicked king of Israel; (the Israelites were divided into two kingdoms at this time). Ahab reported that one of his cities was still under Syrian control and he wanted Jehoshaphat to join forces with him in a military campaign to regain his lost city. Jehoshaphat, being a godly man, wanted to inquire of the Lord as to whether or not to engage in such a matter.
1 Kings 22:5 – And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
So Ahab summoned Israel’s four hundred prophets and inquired of them about the matter. Their unanimous response was a very positive reply.
1 Kings 22:6 – Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
To this, Jehoshaphat, who was also a man of godly discernment, had an uneasy feeling within himself about these so-called prophets.
1 Kings 22:7 – And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides (these), that we might inquire of him?
It seems that young Jehoshaphat had no problem recognizing a bunch of “yes” men that a leader likes to rely on for support of his plans; (as it is with leaders today). Well, it just so happened that Ahab did have a prophet of God in Israel, but he had him locked up in prison because that prophet was not a “yes man” for Ahab, but prophesied words opposing him.
1 Kings 22:8 – And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
It seems that today we have many in the churches who prophesy or preach what people want to hear. Such words may sound good to the materialistic carnal mind, but such words lead to destruction. Most such prophets and preachers speak “peace and prosperity”. Why, because it is profitable; people like to hear it and flock to it. Such words will increase attendance and add to the offering plate when passed. They pack the churches and make them look successful as well as building recognition for the pastor.
Those who do not placate people with good sounding, “bless me”, messages are simply locked out of such churches. They are bad for business! People don’t want to hear that kind of message even though it’s from God and is the absolute truth. People tend to reject a hard word, an alarm, a warning, or a call to repent from sinful behavior. They prefer to hear messages of “peace and prosperity”, “let the good times roll”, etc. If that is what they want, because that is where their heart is, then that is what God will allow them to hear – because there is an abundance of false prophets and preachers available to speak such words. In 1 Kings 22 the ratio of false prophets to true prophets was 400 to 1. Yes, these people seek the Lord for a “word”, but they seek out of an impure heart to satisfy their lusts, and then they are prophesied to by false prophets and “lying spirits”.
1 Kings 22:20-23 – And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil (calamity) concerning thee.
So God allowed a lying spirit to speak through Ahab’s false prophets and said just what Ahab wanted to hear. A similar thing is happening today in many churches. People seek God to hear a “good” word; but they seek out of a heart filled with lust, selfishness and greed; thus they are ministered to by lying spirits giving false messages. Such people will be under a strong delusion and will not be able to tell what is of God and what is not.
Ahab followed his own hearts desire and went up to battle the Sryians; he was so deceptive that he even disguised himself as a regular warrior so that the Syrians would go after the one dressed in kingly garments – Jehoshaphat. However, it was Ahab that ended up dead, just as the true prophet prophesied:
1 Kings 22:17 – And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
Now let’s take another look a King Jehoshaphat in a situation that occurred later in his life when he and his nation are faced with an invasion from an overwhelming foe as recorded in 2 Chronicles 20.
2 Chronicles 20:3 – And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
Jehoshaphat called on the entire nation to seek Lord with prayer and fasting. (Just what our nation’s leadership and our people need to do today.) God’s answer came through a true prophet. You can tell when it’s a true prophet when his words direct you to do something so strange as to trust God for your help, (rather than man or government). Following such a divine word then makes you entirely dependent upon God because it is only HE that can deliver you.
2 Chronicles 20:15 – And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
Now Jehoshaphat could wonder if he had the right prophet or should he lock him up and find one who made more sense to the natural mind; but it gets even more weird:
2 Chronicles 20:17 – Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you
You mean we are to go up to the battle and then sit it out; as if we were in the bleachers watching a football game; yeah, right --- “Next prophet”! But, Jehoshaphat put his trust in God and obeyed, regardless of how ridiculous the Lord’s directions seemed to be. He rallied his people and began to build their confidence in the Lord as he first preached and then asked them to follow his leadership as he obeyed God.
2 Chronicles 20:20-21 – And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
This had to be the strangest army anyone ever saw, placing the band and choir up front and leaving the soldiers in the rear. God uses the simple things to confound the wise, (1 Corinthians 1:27). When the singers began to sing the enemy army began to fight among themselves until they were all destroyed. The singing either drove them crazy, or they were driven by confusion so as to not be able to recognize who it was they were supposed to fight.
2 Chronicles 20:22-24 – And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
Psalm 118:23 – This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
Let’s summarize this important example that scripture gives us: Jehoshaphat and God’s people were under siege by a powerful and fearful enemy and conditions looked very bleak. The king called for fasting and prayer to seek God’s help and protection. When they prayed, they got an answer from a true prophet. The proclamation was made of what they were to do and they went out against the enemy trusting in God, giving praise and testimony to Him. Then God went into action against the enemy of His people.
We see that these people changed the focus of their attention from looking at the enemy to looking at God – from looking at the problem to looking at the one who cares about them; the one who is the answer. Then they put their trust in Him. As a result they could sing His praises in the face of great threat and danger. The praises of His people created confusion and frustration in the ranks of the enemy. At the same time those praises were encouraging God’s people. The enemy ended up turning on themselves creating their own defeat.
The same principle works today, as God does not change. Seek God, hear from Him (His Word) and rejoice in that HE cares for you and wants to see you through to victory against every attack of the enemy. Singing His praises has a profound effect on the enemy of your soul – Satan, confusing him leading to his own defeat.
Isaiah 54:17 – No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 59:19 – So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
When the enemy seems to overwhelm you, the Spirit of the Lord within you and upon you raises up His standard – His Word which is Truth, and leads you to victory in your personal battle. Put your trust in Him, seek Him, Hear Him, apply His Word, praise Him and watch Him win the battle for you.
It is necessary in these last and perilous times to turn away from the false prophets and preachers who only want to speak pleasant words for their own profit; instead, hear the Word of the Lord that is proclaimed by His true prophets. His true prophets are sounding warnings and calling for repentance, turning to Him and putting trust in God rather than man and man’s organizations and government because of what lies ahead.
Psalm 118:8-9, 14 – It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. 14 - The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
Beware of those who only speak or prophesy good things to you!
Matthew 7:15, 20 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening (carnal fleshly) wolves. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
How do you recognize a false prophet or preacher? --- by their fruits, which refers to the Fruit of the Spirit – the character and nature of God.
Galatians 5:22-24 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
True prophets and preachers are not driven by lusts or live to gratify their flesh. False prophets seek to gratify their fleshly selfish lusts, the works of the flesh as listed in:
Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Trust God and His Word to guide you through any and all trials and all the enemy’s efforts to come against you. Learn to recognize and discern God’s true prophets/preachers from the false ones by applying the standard of God’s Word as listed above. Seek those who exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit and prophesy God’s TRUTH rather than those who seek fleshly benefit.