Hating the Prophet
by Tim O'Hearn
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. (1 Kings 22:8)
Tell me truly; are most of us any different than Ahab? He hated the prophet, Micaiah, because he told the word of God truly. With many this might not be a problem; but the king of Israel was not following the will of God. Therefore, anything Micaiah spoke became a word of evil.
Those who deal regularly with people, trying to teach the truth of God’s word, know that some people are just like Ahab. They ask about the Bible, hoping to justify what they have already decided in their minds to do. It’s like a sign some people used to see hanging in offices. “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.”
Now some people are probably saying, he is talking about those who want to justify sin, and won’t listen when the Bible calls it sin. Well, yes. That is included. There are people who want to drive as close to the edge of the cliff of sin as possible without falling off. Then when they are going too fast to make a curve, and they do plummet to the depths of sin they can’t understand what went wrong. These are the people concerned with, “Is it a sin to do such and so?” They justify themselves with statements along the lines of, “I did not have sex with that woman.” The thing is, though, that most people don’t try to determine right from wrong. They are going to do what they want, and ignore what the Bible says entirely.
No, most of today’s Ahabs are religious people, who think they are following what is written in the Bible. They believe what they have been taught, and when someone disagrees they can even pull out all the old arguments that their teachers have been using for years. They are sincere, God-loving, misguided people. They just don’t want to hear anything that might show them they have been taught wrongly.
They might not want to talk to somebody because he teaches the necessity of baptism for forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:38; Acts 26:16; etc.) They might not want to listen to someone who says there can be saved people who are outside their particular religious clique. They are afraid that “if I change, that means Mama was wrong.” Whatever our tradition, belief or hang-up may be, we hate someone because “he doth not prophecy good of me, but evil.” Face it; it is not always the other guy who is wrong.
On the other hand, may we be like David rather than the king of Israel. When Nathan the prophet came to him and prophesied evil against him because of the matter with Uriah, David did not say, “I hate him because he does not prophecy good for me.” Instead, David responded, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13)
Paul faced persecution from Jews in Asia Minor because he taught Gentiles. He proved from the scriptures (what we sometimes call the Old Testament) that Jesus was the Messiah, and that he offered salvation outside the children of Abraham. Therefore some hated him. The Jews in parts of Europe were different. Of the Jews in Berea, Luke wrote, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) May we, like they, love the word, and the people who bring it. Even if we don’t agree.