Summary: It’s been said, "If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you." We tend to listen to those who tell us what we want to hear. Itching Ear Syndrome is dangerous. This message asks the question: Does it Really Matter Who I Listen To?
Last Sunday we looked at Agent Elijah and considered the question; “Does It Really Matter What I Believe?”
· This morning, we’re going to look at another one of God’s prophets, Agent Micaiah, and consider the question; “Does it Really Matter Who I Listen To?”
· You’ve probably heard the statement; first attributed to Samuel Goldwyn, a filmmaker whose company became part of MGM studios, “If I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.”
· The fact is, we tend to listen to people who say what we want to hear.
· We see it in children. They go to one parent, and if they don’t like the answer, they go to another parent.
· Paul warned Timothy that he would find himself among such people.
· “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Tim. 4:3-4 (NIV)
As it turns out, we have a lot in common with this poor fellow…
· This morning I want us to turn to an Old Testament story to see an example of an itching ear.
· The story is found in 1 Kings 22. It is the continuing saga of Ahab, king of Israel… last seen shaking his fist at Elijah.
We heard about Ahab last week. Ahab was not a good king. In fact, he was awful.
· “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.” (1 Kings 16:30).
But there’s another king in today’s story and that is Jehoshaphat.
· Unlike Ahab, Jehoshaphat the king of Judah was a godly man.
It seems like whenever someone is in trouble they like to get a godly man on their side so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ahab called up Jehoshaphat one day and asked if he would be willing to join him in a battle.
· Jehoshaphat, being the good-natured guy that he was not only agreed to help Ahab, but gave him his full support.
· Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” (1 Kings 22:4). In other words, “I’m in this with you all the way.”
· That might have been a nice gesture, but it wasn’t the wisest thing for Jehoshaphat to jump into.
Fortunately, there was one tiny bit of fine print in the deal. Jehoshaphat encouraged Ahab to “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” (vs 5).
· Ahab was like, “what are you talking about… I’ve already checked with all my officials”.
· But Jehoshaphat knew that Ahab had better check things out with God.
· So Ahab brings out four hundred or so prophets and asks them if he should go to war.
· The prophets, almost in unison, tell him to go for it; that the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.
Ahab gets excited about this, that’s exactly what he wanted to hear, but Jehoshaphat isn’t quite so enthused.
· Jehoshaphat knew that Abad didn’t seek the counsel of the Lord. What he did was he sought the counsel of the false prophets. Somehow Jehoshaphat knew that these 400 or so prophets were not speaking the will of the Lord.
· In fact, these 400 prophets were not true prophets.
· Sure, they looked like prophets (whatever prophets looked like).
· They lived like prophets (however prophets lived).
· Most importantly, to the untrained ear, they sounded like prophets.
· But the difference was that these 400 or so “prophets” were appointed by the king instead of being called by God. And that makes a big difference when it comes to being a prophet.
· So Jehoshaphat stuck his nose in the matter, after all, his army’s neck would be on the line too. He asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?” (1 Kings 22:7).
· Just because 400 men were in agreement over something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are right.
Ahab did know of a prophet of the Lord named Micaiah, but Ahab didn’t want to hear from Micaiah.
· In fact, Ahab hated Micaiah because he would never prophesy anything good about Ahab.
· It’s as if Ahab had the idea that the prophet’s job is to tell him what he likes to hear.
· You would think that Ahab would be glad to have at least one person, out of 401, that can warn of impending danger.
· But Ahab was too caught up in his sins. He didn’t want to change. He only wanted to hear what his ears were itching to hear. He didn’t want to face his sin, so instead of being grateful for God’s messenger, he hated him.