Tickle My Ears Preacher!!–Micaiah and His Faithful Example

Posted: July 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

There are certain things in life that we just do not want to hear about.  We don’t necessarily want to hear about the genocide that goes on in foreign lands.  We do not want to hear about how much money we still owe on our credit cards.  And we certainly do not want to hear about how bad our health is at our present age.  We could do without talking and hearing about those subjects. 

This is the case with all people.  There are certain bits of information that you would be happy to never acquire.  We are much happier, most of the time, left in our own ignorance.  If I have developed bad habits in my line of work, I am not too keen on those things being pointed out (honestly, you know you don’t like your faults exposed).  If a specific strategy we are initiating has weaknesses, yet we are oblivious to them, it is just as well to let me remain oblivious.  That’s the way I like it…that’s the way my sinful heart prefers to operate.  Just pat me on the back, tell me I’m doing some good…no, great…things and let me go.  I would rather not talk or hear about my problems, shortcomings, or bad habits.

That is exactly what is going on in the life of Ahab.  He and Jehoshaphat (king of Judah, Ahab is king of Israel) are considering going to war with the king of Syria (1 Kings 22).  There is no doubt that these men thought they had a good chance of winning (what king doesn’t when he goes to war) but were intelligent enough to run their plans by the prophets to see if God was with them.  Even these pagan kings understood that they would need divine intervention to secure victory.  So, they relay the plans to the prophets and Ahab asks, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?”  The prophets respond positively and it would seem that the time to go to war is sealed.  Yet, Ahab tells Jehoshaphat that there is one prophet that has not been asked.  However, this prophet and king Ahab are not exactly buddies.  In fact, Ahab says that he hates this particular prophet (1 Kings 22:8). Why?  Because “he never prophesies good” concerning Ahab.  In other words, he tells Ahab things that he would rather not hear.

Even so, the kings send for this prophet, whose name is Micaiah.  And when the servant goes to bring Micaiah back, he informs Micaiah of all that has went on.  While doing so, he also tells Micaiah that he should “speak favorably” to the king!  In other words, tickle his ears.  Tell the king what he wants to hear.  Don’t worry with the truth; just speak with favor and affirmation.  Pat the man on his back and send him on his merry way!  The response of Micaiah shows a man who is steadfast and faithful to his calling.  He will only speak “what the Lord says” (22:14).  His calling is to simply speak the words of God.  He is not to concern himself with pleasing men.  He is to be preoccupied with pleasing God and being faithful to Him. 

This is an extremely humbling, challenging, and comforting passage for the modern man.  We live in a culture that spurns objective truth and calls us to never offend.  We need to be politically correct in our dialogue with others.  Loving people does not mean speaking truth as much as it means making sure a person’s self-esteem is built up.  Here, those cultural presuppositions are challenged head on.  Micaiah will not placate those to whom he is called to speak.  He does not have the freedom to speak anything other than what God has said.  In the name of truth and love he is constrained to speak only what God commands him to speak.  If he does anything else it is cosmic treason.

For the pastor this is particularly important.  No matter what the culture says, no matter what laws are passed, we can do nothing other than stand in pulpit, sit in the counseling session or hangout in the living room of another and speak truth in love.  We must speak truthfully about God, sin, the gospel, heaven, hell, judgment, wrath, mercy, and grace.  Even if those things do not please the hearer, we still speak.  When we preach the Word we preach the words of God and steer clear of preaching our own words and thoughts.  When we are asked to speak into a situation we do so tactfully, lovingly, and truthfully, no matter how hard a truth it may be.

There are a number of pastors all across the globe that are great at affirming and encouraging those to whom they speak.  They are battery chargers, not battery drainers (thanks John Bailey for the analogy).  Yet, in all their encouraging they never call anyone to flee sin and embrace holiness.  There is little talk of sin from these types of happy-go-lucky pastors.  They are content to leave people in their sin and simply call them to believe in themselves, or achieve their full potential.  These types of pastors do not confront and expose erring brothers/sisters.  They do not warn them of danger.  They do not point them to live worthy of the gospel by which they have been called (Philippians 4:1).  They, in other words, are unfaithful to do what the position they hold demands.

The result of people pleasing in the pastorate is to build a community of people who are deceived.  They think they have it together, are living as God would have them, and are saved from the coming wrath.  When, in fact, those who do not want to deal with their sin and would rather not be informed of the impending danger, are likely those who will not be saved in the day of Jesus Christ.  These types of groups (I hesitate to call them churches) rarely consider how their sin brings dishonor to the heavenly Father, or how it brings disgrace to the gospel.  That is simply a message they do not want to consider. 

In each generation there will be those who want their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  Those who do not want to hear the truth about their sinful lifestyle, or be told how their particular way of life leads to destruction, or hear about how Jesus is the only way and their religious beliefs are false and invalid, will always be with us.  But we do not tell them only what they want to hear.  We speak the truth.  We stand in the line of faithful prophets and speak “what the Lord says.”  We can do nothing else.

  1. Colby Adams says:

    Thank you for this word tonight. Teaching on church membership in the morning and Satan has been tempting tonight to water it down and make students feel more comfortable. The Spirit really used this post to encourage me tonight.

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