Thursday, May 17, 2012

400 versus 1

Who do you surround yourself with? Have you ever stopped and taken a look at who you hang out with? I am speaking specifically about who you call your friends. If you took a honest look at your "friends" would you say they are looking out for your best interest or are they looking out for their best interest. Let's say you and your spouse are going through some difficult times and you decide you have had enough, you are done with the marriage and it is time to walk away from your spouse, your kids and your responsibilities. How many of your friends would take you aside and tell you what you are doing is wrong? How many would take a chance of having you really upset with them because they spoke the truth? In other words are you surrounded by a bunch of "yes men (or women)" or are you surrounded by people who are not going to simply tell you want you want to hear but rather tell you what you need to hear. Look at this story I came across a couple of days ago.

II Chronicles 18: 1-5 - 18 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. 2 Some years later he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” 4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” 5 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” “Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.”
Here is the scene, Jehoshaphat is getting ready to go into war and as any good king back in the day would have done he wants to know if the Lord would bless his attack. He gathers 400 prophets around him and asks each one "What do you think?", "What do you think?", "What do you think?", "What do you think?", "What do you think?" 400 times and each time  they reply "God will give it into the king’s hand.", over and over and over they say the same thing. He is surrounded by yes men. The story continues:

II Chronicles 18: 6,7 - 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?” 7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
This is interesting. He just had 400 men say go to war you will win and yet he says is this everyone? Is there anyone else I can ask? What? You just had 400 men tell you to go to battle and you would win. What is he thinking? I'm not sure about you but I think I might have said "Saddle up boys, we are going to war!" But not Jehoshaphat, look what he says:

II Chronicles 18: 12-17 - 12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, as one man the other prophets are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.”

14 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”

“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.”

15 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

16 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”

17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
Jehoshaphat must have known something fishy was up since everyone was in agreement. Jehoshaphat wants another opinion and Micaiah is summoned. At first he sides with the prophets but if you read between the lines all he is doing is mocking the other 400 prophets. Once Jehoshaphat tells him he wants to hear the truth Micaiah tells him that if he goes into battle he and Ahab will be defeated. They ended up going into battle and Ahab was killed.

As I thought about this story I wondered who I surround myself with. Just like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I had to ask myself am I surrounded by a group of men who approve of everything I do and say, am I surrounded by a bunch of yes men who care less about my spiritual well being or am I surrounded by men who will tell me what I need to hear. If I told them I was thinking about leaving my wife and family would they say that it was just the way things are now, everyone seems to be doing it and we wish you well or would they pull a Macaiah on me and go against what is popular and try to steer me back to what God's word says as it relates to the matter at hand.

Think about who you are surrounded by, who you consider to be your closest friends. Are you surrounded by men and women like the 400 prophets of Ahab or are you surrounded by men or women like Micaiah? One will tell you want you want to hear the other will tell you what you need to hear.

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