♣ God’s Message Will Not Massage Our Egos
Posted by Shade of the Moriah Tree
2 Chronicles 18
Verse 7 – “…There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.”
Many of us are well acquainted with the prophet Isaiah, yet seldom do we hear any reference to Micaiah, but how the church needs shepherds of such a heart: “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” We need leaders, who are faithful to God and fearless of man, to speak prophetically into our apostate era. We do not need men who can exhibit their ‘ability’ to announce the future and impress the crowds; we need voices that awake the sleeping, rouse the apathetic, and wound the proud; we need the ‘mouthpiece’ of God to precisely diagnose the truth of our actual condition – not what we are inclined to think that simulates this narcissistic age, but the veracity that arrests and pierces the soul before the presence of God, the One Who must first wound in order to truly heal, to break in order to make whole – for us to know repentance before restoration.
In 2 Chronicles 18, all of the 400 prophets were in entire agreement and one spirit; they all prophesied the same word and many took such an occasion as no mere coincidence but as confirmation to pursue and defeat Ramoth-gilead. Despite the overtly confirmed word, the king of Judah remained unsettled, similar to that of the prophet Samuel, who said to Jesse (as ‘all’ of his sons passed before him un-chosen), “Are all your sons here?” and on hearing what the Lord was already indicating, asked for the youngest to be brought before him in order to anoint him king.
Micaiah was summoned to speak favourably and with one accord as the other prophets, but the son of Imlah made clear that he would speak only what God had revealed. Here was a prophet rare among hundreds who would not cower to the demands of men that compromise God’s commands. Men in their numbers were against him but the One, true, living and omnipotent God spoke through him in judgment and opposition to man’s folly. There is one fear that ought to terrify us more than anything else in all of creation and that is the knowledge of God opposing us – “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Only a few weeks ago I was invited to speak at a Men’s Full Gospel Business Fellowship meeting, and to my surprise, the gentleman who initially asked me to preach telephoned me the night before the meeting, requesting that I preach on something ‘encouraging‘; specifics were given as to what I should say. I find it disturbing when asked what and what not to say, particularly when it means a downplay of God’s Word. The next morning just before I was handed the platform to speak, I keenly observed the kind of audience I would be sharing with. The pressure came to dilute the message somewhat and make it more easygoing. The overwhelming conviction of ‘What I have given you, speak’ came as a sharp reminder to never compromise God’s standards to suit and accommodate man. Subsequent to the meeting, another invite was given to speak at a local church – this time asking me to speak on some of the very things shared just minutes before, and however else the Lord would lead – a very different scenario this time.
Man does not dictate what to preach, nor does he write the preachers proclamation; God does! I always find it somewhat disappointing when I hear of a film ‘based’ on a true story; one wonders and questions what is and isn’t factual in the script. It is sickening to discover that many churches are fed on a diet that is ‘based’ on God’s Word and ‘tweaked’ here and there to make it enticingly palatable to a pluralistic society. To some extent, one may get away with using artistic license in film production; there are no requirements in adhering to all of the facts, but when it comes to the Word of God we are on unusual – ‘otherworldly’ and holy ground – a Reality we dare not tamper with to befit our own ends. The Church is not to be based but built on the eternal Word of God; preaching is a factual proclamation and witness to the whole counsel and revelation of God, whether or not it agrees with our ethical or spiritual orientation; God’s Word applied by the power of the Holy Spirit arrests us entirely, but many today wrest the scriptures unto their own destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 speaks of those who refused to love the truth and will therefore believe what is false because God sends them a strong delusion to believe the lie. This is a manifestation of God’s judgment currently taking place within the Church, and those that are veiled with lies are convinced they are enveloped in truth! It happened in the time of Micaiah where God had permitted a lying spirit to speak from the mouths of all the other prophets (2 Chronicles 18:20-22) who were in one accord. That kind of spectacle would no doubt have bewitched myriads of professing believers today; many in our day and age mistakenly equate excess numbers, popularity and large followings with success – and that’s the kind of pattern we can expect to find in the secular world, but for the Church to replicate such ideologies is nothing but a travesty of New Testament Christianity, which is our only blueprint of living to Whom we – the Bride of Christ – have been called to.
God’s loyal men know the cost of faithfully speaking His Word. Micaiah was subjected to harsh imprisonment, put on meagre rations of bread and water (a shocking insult to our extravagant western diet) for proclaiming God‘s message that was unpleasing to man‘s ears; I wonder how many bible students endeavouring to enter the ministry knew beforehand that there would be no ‘romance’ in preaching the gospel – no luxury, no high salary and no popularity but opposition for declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ? I wonder how many would decline, opting for something that doesn’t require too much sacrifice? Ananias in Acts 9 was made aware that Paul would suffer much for the sake of Christ, and Paul did suffer immensely, but that was of no real account to Paul; he did not count his own life dear unto himself. Fellow believers who abandoned and deserted Paul were some of the most heart-wrenching blows received (2 Timothy 4:9-17). The majority of Pastors today, feed off of fellowship (socialising would be a more appropriate term) with other pastors, feel the support (ego stroking) of other leaders, but what about those who are lonely in the fight, those that preach sound truths week in and week out with no substantial membership growth and no other leaders in the vicinity to stand by them? Of course, there is spiritual growth as saints are being exhorted and edified, but no-one else in the community wants to hear unadulterated gospel truth, and none of the other pastors have the backbone to be God‘s men. God’s servant may well feel the blow of desertion from his own spiritual kinsmen, but that will settle fine because as with Paul, he will too encounter the Lord standing by him (2 Timothy 4:17); that is everything to the man, whose sole goal is to please God – come what may.
A plethora of booming churches that downplay the hardcore gospel (the power of God unto salvation) are weekly ‘growing’ with members at a phenomenal rate; they have all the gadgets and technology woven into the fabric of their meetings – great music, celebrity worship leaders and speakers, refreshments at their beck and call and a whole load of other entertainment to cater for everyone’s needs, but the small ‘insignificant’ church around the corner, whose leader preaches the eternal realities burning strongly within his heart, does not appeal to the carnality that plagues the hearts of those who have voted and turned church into a multi-facetted festivity centre; many of our modern church halls have been ‘successfully’ turned into church malls – where God is professed while sin remains unconfessed; where many gloss over the cross ‘crucifying’ the Lord in hope to resurrect a saviour to bestow his blessing on all their endeavours.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
We certainly do live in a church age of hating biblical truth that upsets self-orientated lives, and where many prefer to live a lie, so long as it ensures a positive boost to one’s self image – and of course, a good sense of morale that dangerously deceives and ‘salves’ the conscience. We want the positive speakers that massage our ego’s and to assure us, “peace, peace” (where only judgment awaits) making us feel delirious while despising the ‘negative’ prophets who announce God’s message that makes us serious enough to seek God for Himself – His honour and glory alone.
Yes, God is perfect love, Who is patient, longsuffering and Whose kindness and goodness is bestowed upon us with the intent that leads us to repentance, but He is a holy loving God, Who cannot ‘wink’ at sin and all the ‘fig leaf’ excuses we give for our perverse ways; God loves honesty when we walk in the light with Him but hates pretense. We can never offend Him, never shock or surprise Him; He knows it all anyway – “You delight in truth in the inward being…” (Psalm 51:6), the atoning blood of Christ is more than able to ‘make the foulest clean’ in His sight. His message of grace is for the ones with broken egos – whose self-strength and self-righteousness has been shattered, making them fit to behold His blessing. God’s message may wound and dislocate us like Jacob; we will never walk the same again but it proves to be an injury that brings our healing, befitting us to behold God Himself.
Posted on May 1, 2012, in ♣ Devotional and tagged 2 Chronicles 18:7, devotional, God’s Message Will Not Massage Our Egos, Mark Anthony Williams, Micaiah the prophet. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.