Clearing up a sticking point

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”2458″ img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]1 Kings 22 overflows with prophets—400 of Ahab’s prophets, Micaiah, and of course, Jeremiah, the author of the book. It also raises a few thorny questions about prophets and the prophetic gift.

Things were relatively quiet in Israel and had been for several years, but there was still bad feeling between Ramoth-gilead and King Ahab since the war. So, Ahab decided to get things settled and asked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to help him.

But Jehoshaphat wasn’t sure about the idea, and he asked Ahab to consult his 400 prophets. That’s where the confusion begins.

Ahab asked them whether or not he should go to battle. And they all agreed that he should. Then, he asked the prophet Micaiah. And Micaiah told Ahab a different tale.

I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host (army) of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this, while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are to entice him and also succeed. Go and do so.’ Now then, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.”[1]

God and his angels can lie? If that’s true, how can we trust anything they say? How can we trust the Bible? Everything falls apart.

First of all, the one who deceived the prophets is referred to, not as an angel, but as “a spirit,” which was most likely a demon, to whom lying comes naturally. Satan and his demons are evil, but they can do nothing that God does not allow them to do, as we see again and again in the book of Job.

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord.

That day, when the Lord began boasting about Job, Satan countered, “all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse you to your face.”

So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”

God did nothing to Job or to the 400 prophets.

Second, some say Ahab’s prophets were false prophets, like Jezebel’s. Then again, God had to send a spirit to deceive them into prophesying falsely. If they were not true prophets, they would have prophesied falsely by nature. But if that’s so, why didn’t God have the spirit deceive Micaiah?

He didn’t need to. Ahab was habitually evil and habitually believed lies. And everyone knew that Ahab hated Micaiah.

“There is one more man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he never prophesies good news for me, but only evil.”

So, what were the odds of Ahab believing him?

Finally, God allows what we allow. We’re all attacked by evil spirits. Often, they tell us lies, and sometimes we believe them. The same thing happened with Ahab’s prophets. They were asking for a word, and they received one. But while prophecy is an irrevocable supernatural gift, it is not proof that the prophet is intimate with God.

How then do we know when we’re hearing—or speaking—a true prophetic word? That’s simple.

If what the prophet spoke in God’s name doesn’t happen, then obviously God wasn’t behind it.[2]

~ Photo by Ben White


[1] 1 Kings 22:19-23, AMP.

[2] Deuteronomy 18:22, The Message.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]