And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.” But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” And 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 home in peace.’” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The Lord has declared disaster concerning you.”
Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Which way did the Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak to you?” And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison and feed him with meager rations of bread and water until I return in peace.’” And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!” II Chronicles 18:14-27 ESV
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. I John 4:1-3a ESV
In the 1800s in Europe and the United States, many young women died after having babies. They would get a fever a few days after having their baby, and would get very sick and often die. The main treatment people tried was to “bleed” them, to cut them and let some of their blood run out, but that didn’t help at all. Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis were two men who had the idea that the cause of this terrible problem was doctors going to help a woman have her baby without washing their hands or putting on clean clothes. The doctors were spreading germs from one mother to another that way, and even from dead bodies they were examining. These two men tried to tell doctors that they should wash their hands before helping a mother. But many doctors thought that was a silly idea. They were insulted that anyone would suggest that they didn’t have clean hands! It took a long time for doctors to accept that these two men were telling the truth, because they believed lies many other doctors were telling about what caused the sickness.
Micaiah was in the same situation. All the other prophets were saying that Ahab would win the battle he was about to enter, but Micaiah said he would be killed in the battle and his men would be sent home. No one believed him, and Ahab even said that he should be thrown in prison and fed bread and water until the king came home from battle. He didn’t see why all the other prophets would tell lies. Micaiah explained that God allowed an evil spirit to deceive the other prophets. They weren’t faithful to God, and they told lies to make the king happy. God used Micaiah to warn Ahab of the truth. Ahab had a chance to listen to God’s message, but if he didn’t, the punishment God had promised for his wickedness would come about.
It can be scary to think of people telling lies about God and his ways. What if we believe lies, and are led away from God’s truth? God gives us a simple test. If teachers tell us the truth about Jesus, then they are from God. If they tell lies about Jesus or about his word, then they are false prophets and liars. Jesus is the Son of God, come to earth as a human being to save us. He died on the cross to bring us back to God and give us eternal life. He loves us and sends us his word and his Holy Spirit to keep us close to him and to keep us hearing and believing in the truth.
Dear Jesus, please help me always listen to and believe in the truth about you. Amen.