November 16, 2015

Choosing advisors

1 Kings 22:1–53, Mark 12:35–13:23, Proverbs 5:11–23

Israel’s king Ahab may have repented one time, but he was characterized by going his own way. Generally, he would not listen to God or anyone else. He decided to ally with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah and attack his enemies. Before this, he made a show of asking his prophets if this was the right decision. They all agreed it was, but Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from a “prophet of the Lord,” namely Micaiah. He said they should not go into battle. 

Micaiah explained that he had a vision of the Lord who was asking, “Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” After several ideas came forward, a spirit came before the Lord and said, “I will entice him.”

The Lord asked, “By what means?” and was told “I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” In Micaiah’s vision, God approved that plan, so this prophet said to Ahab, “Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” (1 Kings 22:19–23)

Defying God’s Word, the two kings went to fight anyway. Ahab disguised himself, but told Jehoshaphat to wear his robes. The enemy captains were not fooled and realized that Jehoshaphat was not the king of Israel. However, a man “drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate” and Ahab died. “His blood flowed into the bottom of the chariot where it was washed by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood . . . according to the word of the Lord previous spoken.” (1 Kings 22:37–38)

Ahab’s deliberate choice to follow ungodly advice turned out to be deadly, but even in non-threatening matters, disobedience to God is never wise. Solomon described some of the ramifications of going against God: “At the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.’” (Proverbs 5:11–14)

Jesus also warned against choosing ungodly advisors. He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” (Mark 12:38–40)

He said, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.” He described some of what would happen and told His disciples to be on guard as many who seem to be reliable would betray those who follow Christ; even “brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” He told them to endure as endurance is a characteristic of genuine faith. (Mark 13:5–13)

He also gave them His advice to flee when certain events happened, not going back to take their possessions because great tribulation would happen. Not only that, some would put their trust in false christs and false prophets who will perform signs and wonders, and those who follow Jesus must “be on guard” just as He warned us in His Word. (Mark 13:14–23)

I’m aware that the Word of God often seems contrary to reason, even common sense. Many so-called experts will give advice that runs contrary to what God says. Some of that advice will sound good. Some of it will bolster my own desires and entice me to forget what God says. I need to be on guard when it comes to choosing who I will listen to, and also be immersed in the Word of God so I know and am guided by excellent and godly counsel.

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