Summary: Would we rather hear the Truth and find eternal life; or believe a lie and be condemned? Ahab chose the latter and nearly took Jehoshaphat down with him except for the mercy of God.
To Tell the Truth
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
By Pastor James May
Jehoshaphat began his reign in Judah as a man who followed God. He became a mighty king in Judah – brought a great revival – destroyed the works of the devil through idolatry- had powerful and righteous friendships, princes among the people whom he sent out at teachers to teach the ways of the Lord to his people.
Even though he was a great king with a heart after God, Jehoshaphat had a great weakness. As I told you a few weeks ago, “All Great Leaders Have Great Weaknesses!” He became a man who liked the praise of other people that lifted him up on a pedestal. He was the king of Judah and the Southern Kingdom of the Jews at a time when Ahab, the king of Israel, was king over the Northern Kingdom. Israel was divided nation and because of the action of the northern tribes, the land of Samaria would be a source of hatred for centuries. Ahab had one great ability, he was able to deceive Jehoshaphat into becoming allies with him and caused him to sign a treaty of mutual support.
The Bible tells us that we are to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. If we are tied to those who have no regard for the things of God, then we are always inviting trouble into the midst. We will be pulling in opposite directions; with a whole different mindset of what should be important. Jehoshaphat, my joining with Ahab, was putting his whole kingdom into jeapordy. Ahab could not be trusted to fulfill his part of the bargain, but Jehoshaphat, by trying to be always truthful and do what was right, was bound by his own words to fight with Ahab whenever he was needed.
Perhaps we need to keep this in mind as we go about doing business in this world. As you know, just because someone swears and oath or signs their name on the dotted line of a contract does not mean that they intend to fulfill their part of the obligation. Cars are repossessed, homes go into foreclosure and a lot of people face liens against their property simply because they signed on the line and then couldn’t pay their debts.
When you sign a contract with the world, don’t be surprised when they don’t fulfill its provisions. But you and I, as Children of God, are bound by our word to always pay our debts and tell the truth. Satan can use our own commitment to truth against us if we aren’t careful.
Ahab had plans for the conquering of Ramoth-Gilead, one of the cities of refuge that had been captured by the Syrians, and now he was leaning heavily on Jehoshaphat to join him in the fight.
Ahab had false prophets at his command; prophets of Baal who were nothing more than yes men; who would only “prophesy” good things that Ahab wanted to hear. Not one of them dared to bring a bad report.
Jehoshaphat still had a heart after God and wanted to seek the will of God before stepping out into a war with Ahab and called for Ahab to seek the Lord before going out.
400 prophets of Ball came along with all of their chanting, mantras and incense – appearing to be very religious and pious, dressed in their priestly garments and carrying their sacred relics. They had all of the outward appearances of being prophets; but inwardly they were lying men who only valued their own lives, positions and power. They had no regard for truth; only for what was convenient.
I don’t doubt that perhaps they had even conspired ahead of time to make sure that they all had the same “revelation” from their god to give to the king. It would seem so foolish for prophets who all served the same idol to have differing points of view and varying answers to the king’s questions. Whoever did not conform would surely be marked as a false prophet and destroyed.
Like so many today, their fame and fortune was more important to them than knowing the truth. They only sought to give the answer that was best suited for the moment; to keep up their façade of piousness, while their only real intent was to keep their status in the kingdom as men to be honored and respected.
Thank God for those who know the difference and can see where lies are and still want to know the truth. Jehoshaphat asked Ahab for just one more prophet; not a prophet of Baal; but a true prophet of God. Something just didn’t set right with him with these prophets of Baal; he had to know what the God of Israel had to say.