Saturday, December 16, 2006

No worms on today's menu!

Every morning I ask the Lord to ‘give me my daily bread’ from His Word, some morsel He knows I need. I might have a question, or the day will offer a perplexing situation, or I might not be aware of a problem, but He wants to make me aware. He always feeds me, but I’m never sure what will be on the menu.

Last night I went to bed feeling like nobody loves me, everybody hates me; I’m going out to the garden to eat worms.

I prayed about it, and went to sleep rationalizing that this was only a mood brought on by the way someone treated me that day; it is not true . . . and even if people fail to love me, God always does. But I still felt like eating worms.

This morning I woke from a dream that reflected the same issue—the contrast between the way people love me (or not) and the way God loves me. I asked God to feed me something that would speak about the whole thing, then I read this from 1 Kings 22:

“So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’”

Ahab, king of the northern part of the kingdom, had asked his visitor, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah in the south, to help him conquer Syria. Jehoshaphat reminded Ahab that as God’s people, they should ask God first, to see if He would be with them in this battle.

Ahab wasn’t too interested. However, he called for the prophets. Some of them said, “Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the king’s hand.”

Micaiah, the godly prophet, was asked to give the same encouragement, but he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’”

Ahab’s reply was, “Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

Micaiah also revealed that God had shown how a lying spirit would persuade Ahab to go to war and meet with disaster. He spoke the truth, and to Ahab it was like eating worms.

Micaiah’s prophesy was exactly what happened. Ahab disguised himself so that Jehoshaphat wearing his royal robes became the target, but the army of king of Syria saw through his tactics. They wanted only Ahab, and eventually Ahab was killed.

Out of this story, God spoke to me. Even though it is not wrong to want people to love me, to be well-liked, considered, valued, and all those nice and encouraging things, Jehoshaphat choose what is really important. He was interested only in truth from the Lord. He looked for the will of God in this matter, even though he was under pressure. Ahab pleaded for his help; war is dangerous; looking like a king in battle vs. wearing a disguise is hazardous; but in all of this, he still wanted to know what God said.

In the face of the prophesy from God, Jehoshaphat did go to war with Ahab, but a parallel passage in 2 Chronicles tells how he, when wounded, cried out to God for deliverance and God used that to divert the enemy; they knew this praying man, despite the royal robes, was not Ahab!

My battle is not physical, but God wants the same attitude from me. When I come to God about any issue, do I want to be an Ahab and patted on the head, fed stuff that might make me feel better but is not true? Or do I want to be like Jehoshaphat and seek truth about my life and my situation?

Today’s daily bread is not comfort food, but it is not worms either. Instead He offers solid, basic sustenance. He reminds me that He is faithful, that everyone at some time or another will let me down, just as I let Him down and them, and that we are sinners, all of us. I must not expect perfection from people, only from Him. Out of the multiple choices on his menu, He graciously gives comfort food for yesterday and fortification for the challenges of today.

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