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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Word For The Week

For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. The king of Israel had said to his officials, "Don't you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?"

So he asked Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?" Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses." But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, "First seek the counsel of the LORD."

So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, "Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?"
"Go," they answered, "for the Lord will give it into the king's hand."

But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there not a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?"

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." "The king should not say that," Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, "Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once."

Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, "This is what the LORD says: 'With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.'"

All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. "Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious," they said, "for the LORD will give it into the king's hand."

The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, "Look, as one man the other prophets are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably."

But Micaiah said, "As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me."

When he arrived, the king asked him, "Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?" "Attack and be victorious," he answered, "for the LORD will give it into the king's hand."

The king said to him, "How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD ?" Then Micaiah answered, "I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, 'These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.' "

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Didn't I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?"

Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD : I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'
"One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.'

" 'By what means?' the LORD asked.
" 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said.
" 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.'

"So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. "Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?" he asked.

Micaiah replied, "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room."

The king of Israel then ordered, "Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king's son and say, 'This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.' "

Micaiah declared, "If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me." Then he added, "Mark my words, all you people!"

1 Kings 22:1-28
Micaiah was a true prophet of the LORD. He was fully committed to the will of God. Look at verse 14 of I Kings 22. “But Micaiah said, ‘as the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.’” Micaiah was not interested in what would advance his career in ministry, or what would ingratiate himself with the king. He was interested in and committed to doing the will of God who called him and spoke through him. Micaiah had God as his top priority, just like we are supposed to.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” David, king of all Israel and Judah, understood that he was to seek God first. In II Samuel 7, David sought to do a work for God. David was living in a beautiful palace, but the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence, was outside in the cold under a tent. David thought this was wrong and wanted to build a temple for God in which to place the ark. But God told David, paraphrasing verses 5-17, “Thanks, but it isn’t that crucial. However, since you’re your heart is set on me I’m going to bless you.” God blessed David because David sought God first, because God was his first priority. God chose to bless David based on David’s relationship with God. Nothing was more important to David that the will of God.

The first desire of David’s son Solomon was to do the will of God. In I Kings 3, God tells Solomon to ask for anything that he wanted. Solomon praised God and asked God to give him wisdom to govern God’s people effectively to the glory of God. Since he requested something that would help him serve God and not something to fulfill the lusts of his flesh, the lusts of his eyes, or the pride of life, God blessed him with the wisdom he requested and all of the material riches and social honors that one could imagine, simply because Solomon’s first priority was the will of God. Solomon was fully committed to the will of God.

There was a young aspiring preacher who was visited by an angel. The angel said to the young preacher, “Your ministry will grow and be prosperous if you do according to all of the words I am about to speak: Never mention the word sin – ever. Never mention the word repentance or even refer to it. Offer them salvation in terms of deliverance from their problems. Motivate your people to be moral and upright human beings and your ministry will flourish. The bigger the building you build, the more people that will fill it. And everyone who commits themselves to this salvation will join me in eternity…” How many pastors have compromised their ministries in this fashion? How many preachers will only preach what the people are willing to hear? How many are committed to say that which God has told them to say only as long as it will be well received? Micaiah was fully committed to the will of God. Are we fully committed to the will of God, to seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

Micaiah was also courageous in the face of perverse authority. Ahab was the most wicked king that Israel had ever seen. The name of his wife, Jezebel, is still synonymous with wickedness to this day. A king has power over the life and death of his subjects, even the prophets. With a word he could have had Micaiah killed. Despite that, Micaiah still spoke what the LORD told him to speak – a word of rebuke and judgement – which he knew would upset the king. Look at verse 18 in I Kings 22. “Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?’”

You see, people usually know when they’re wrong, but they often want to kill the messenger for telling them that which they already know. Most messengers know this and become afraid to deliver the message, desiring to avoid the retaliation of the recipient. Parents stop spanking their children, teachers stop failing students, preachers stop mentioning sin. All from fear of what might happen to them if they take a stand for that which is right.

But you know, there were three Hebrew boys who were not afraid to take a stand for what was right. They stood up to the most powerful man on the planet, Nebuchadnezzar, and told him to his face, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They took a stand. They were fully committed to the will of God and they were courageous in the face of perverse authority. They understood that it’s all good – for believers. The Word of God says “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s all good.

God knows what we need, and if we seek him first to do His will, he will provide for all of those needs. No weapon forged against us will prevail, right? So what’s the matter with our standing power? Why can’t we take a stand? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego took a stand for the LORD. Micaiah, a prophet of the LORD, took a stand for the LORD. Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

You see Micaiah was also convinced of God’s truth. He wasn’t just running off at the lip with what he thought or what he believed or what was the logical conclusion from the scientific or statistical data. He was convinced, no, he KNEW that the word of the LORD was true. In verse 28 we find the last words recorded from Micaiah. “And Micaiah said, ‘If you indeed return safely the LORD has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘(Mark my words) NIV, all you people.’” He knew the truth of the Word of God, that it was without error, that it is God-breathed and useful for instruction and correction. Ahab had him sent to prison where Micaiah was to stay until Ahab returned safely from battle. Micaiah told him up front that he would be spending the rest of his days in prison because Ahab would never return from battle alive. Micaiah was convinced of God’s truth and courageous in the face of perverse authority because he was fully committed to the LORD. He was a prophet of the LORD.

Moses was committed to the LORD when he faced pharaoh and commanded him to “Let my people Go!” and the captives were set free.

Joshua was committed to the LORD when he marched around Jericho for seven days and the walls came tumbling down.

David was committed to the LORD when he confronted Goliath and God granted the victory.

Nathan was committed to the LORD when he rebuked King David and the king repented.

Elijah was committed to the LORD when he faced the 450 prophets of Baal and fire fell from heaven.

Jesus was committed to doing the will of his Father who sent him and now salvation’s free to you and me.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good.

Ezekiel got a taste and it was sweet as honey.

John got a taste on the Island of Patmos and it was like honey to his lips but he couldn’t stomach the testimony.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

You see there is no one righteous, not even one, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

It is written that the wages of our sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.

And God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

But in order to have salvation we must accept it, and we do that by confessing with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord of my life,” and believing in our heart that God raised him from the dead.

We must commit our life to serving Jesus Christ – our whole heart, all of our mind, our entire body and our very soul. Now, no man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will love the one and hate the other.

• You cannot serve both God and Money.
• You cannot serve both God and Lexus.
• You cannot serve both God and prosperity.
• You cannot serve both God and America.

You must choose this day whom you will serve. Whether the ancestral gods of your forefathers beyond the Atlantic or the self-centered, humanistic and materialistic gods of the Americans in whose land you live, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

And if you will be fully committed to do the will of God, I implore you to be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey the Word of God; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let the Word of God depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything according to it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Haven’t I already told you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to to be true to Him,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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