Summary: The wise person will seek only Godly counsel, even though it is not flattering, and can be hard to hear.
READ: 2 Chronicles 18:1-27 (Text verses 6-7).
[TELL STORY OF AHAB / JEHOSHAPHAT / MICAIAH]
Tonight I’d like to start with THREE (3) PROPOSITIONS:
1. MANY PEOPLE SEEK ONLY COUNSELLORS WHOSE WORDS ARE APPEALING.
Ahab had a host of such "prophets" around him - he had lulled himself into a false sense of security, believing that he had the word of the Lord and the approval of wise counsellors. LEADERS ARE IN A DANGEROUS PLACE WHEN THEY SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH "YES" MEN ! Note those words of Ahab concerning the godly prophet Micaiah in verse 7.
[READ - "he never prophesies good concerning me"]. Also note that Micaiah had to be sent for - he was not kept at the king’s side - Ahab didn’t like what he had to say.
You know, people are always looking for "flattering prophets". Those who will say just what they are wanting to hear. There are some Christians who go around from person to person, even to every preacher in town, they buy books and tapes, looking for someone who will say what they want to hear. Listen, if you search long enough you’ll ALWAYS find someone who is willing to agree with you - even if you say the moon is made of cheese ! (Sure, you may have to go to an institution to find them; but you can ALWAYS find someone who’ll say what you want to hear.)
The world laughs at the caricature of "fire & brimstone" preachers - they mock and scorn such men. BUT DO YOU KNOW WHY ? Because they don’t want to hear a message of judgment - a message that makes them uncomfortable and demands a decision. So they laugh, and run off to their flattering prophets who say "BE AT PEACE, ALL IS WELL !"
I thank God that in my own life I have always had, and still have, people who can "call my cards". People who know me well enough, and love me enough, to tell me the truth. To give me counsel I need to hear rather than just what I’d like to hear.
MANY PEOPLE SEEK ONLY COUNSELLORS WHOSE WORDS ARE APPEALING.
2. THE WORLD HAS SUCH COUNSELLORS IN ABUNDANCE.
There is no shortage of people who are willing to say what you want to hear. In fact, if there is a shortage it’s of those who will tell you what you need to hear.
If you’ve read "Pilgrim’s Progress" you’ll recall that there were MANY who have offered Christian "pleasant" counsel to side-track him from the truth. Listening to any ONE of them would have led him to destruction.
Many people are crying out "TELL US ABOUT THE GOD OF LOVE WHO WILL ACCEPT OUR SIN AND NOT CONDEMN. Not this God of fiery judgment." And they find their prophets of comfort. Even certain "churchmen" are prepared to preach such a one-sided half-truth gospel; not wanting to offend. These are the kind of men who would sell their own soul for the sake of popularity. (Billy Sunday said 100 years ago - "the theatre gives people what they want - the church gives people what they NEED !")
Other people enquire "Won’t my road lead to God ? I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Hindu, I follow Hari Krishna; won’t my "saviour" do ?" And there are plenty of voices willing to answer "Yes, of course, all religions lead to God !" (RUBBISH - "There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" - Acts 4:12.)
Our young people are getting disillusioned with life, and begin to question whether life is worth the living. Suicide seems an easy way out, and so they cry out "Is this the way?" And they too find their prophets of agreement. Rock ’n Roll counsellors who sing out their messages of death.
THE WORLD HAS "YES" COUNSELLORS IN ABUNDANCE.
Finally, my third proposition is this:
3. THE WISE SEEK ONLY GODLY COUNSEL, EVEN THOUGH IT CONTAINS NO FLATTERY AND IS OFTEN HARD.
Yes, the wise man’s prayer is "I would rather a word of rebuke at Thy mouth, Oh Lord, than rivers of praise from the lips of men."
Listen to what the Bible says : READ Proverbs 9:7-9.
And again in Ecclesiastes 7:5 it says : "It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools."
THE WISE SEEK ONLY GODLY COUNSEL, EVEN THOUGH IT BE NOT FLATTERING, AND IS OFTEN HARD.
But now we are still left with a question:
HOW, THEN, CAN YOU DISCERN WHAT IS TRULY GODLY COUNSEL?
Amid all the plethora of voices that want to offer us advice today, how do we determine what voices are from God, and what are carnal, or even devilish voices?