Old Testament: 1 Kings 22:1-53
1 Kings 22:1-40 Mikey Likes It!
There were three years of peace but then Ahab realized he hadn’t gotten an important town back from Ben-hadad yet. Jehosophat of Judah was a good king but allowed himself to get corrupted by Ahab (cf. 1 Cor. 15:33, Prov. 13:20). Ahab asked him to support him in a war against Ben-hadad. Jehosophat said, “Sure” (v. 4). He just wanted Ahab to check things out with Yahweh first, not a bad request. All of the 400 prophets of Israel agreed that Ahab should attack Ben-hadad. Then Jehosophat asked, “Do you have anyone else?”
Ahab said he had one other prophet but he didn’t like him. He said the other prophet was always saying bad stuff about him and he hated him (v. 8). Jehosophat said, “That’s OK. Let’s hear from him.” So he had the prophet brought in. His name was Micaiah. He is one of my heroes. My guess is he was raised in New Jersey. He always talked straight.
When Micaiah was asked if Ahab and Jehosophat should attack Ben-hadad, he said, “Yeah. Sure. That’s a great idea. Hurry up and attack and the Lord will give him over to you.” His words were dripping with sarcasm just like he was from Hoboken.
Ahab moaned, “Aw. C’mon. That’s just what I’m talking about. Do you see what I mean? How many times do I have to tell you to just tell me what the Lord tells you?”
So Micaiah said, “I see all Israel scattered and without a king to lead them. They’re all heading for home” (v. 17).
So Ahab said again, “See what I’m talking about? He never says anything good about me.”
Micaiah continued, “I saw the Lord on His throne with all of the host of heaven around Him. Yahweh asked who would lie to Ahab for him and tell all the prophets that he’d be successful when he’d actually be coming to destruction?” Micaiah said a lying spirit volunteered for the assignment.
One of Ahab’s prophets was a little offended by all this so whacked Micaiah in the head and asked him when the Spirit had moved from him to Micaiah. Micaiah said he’d figure it out after he was thrown in prison for a while. So Ahab had Micaiah thrown in prison where most good prophets are found anyway. He was put on a diet of bread and water. Micaiah said, “That’s OK. If you come back healthy, then the Lord didn’t speak through me.” Micaiah knew that the proof of a true prophet is that everything they say turns out to be 100% correct (Deut. 18:17-22; Num. 16:28-30).
Ahab pulled a fast one. He knew Jehosophat would go into battle in his king’s attire so he dressed like a regular soldier to disguise himself. He knew Ben-hadad would be looking for him. After the battle started, the men of Ben figured out that Jehosophat wasn’t the king of Israel so they left him alone. But Yahweh basically sent a drone to kill Ahab. One of the Ben men pulled out an arrow and fired at random. He found a spot between the parts of Ahab’s armor. The king was propped up in his chariot while he bled out. All the people dispersed back to their homes. The king was brought back to Samaria to be buried. The chariot was washed out by the pool of Samaria and the dogs lapped up all the blood.
1 Kings 22:40-53 Here Comes The Sons
Meanwhile, back in Judah, Jehosophat was king from the fourth year of Ahab and reigned for twenty-five years until he was sixty years-old. He was as good a king as his father, Asa, but still did not pull down the places of idol-worship up on the hills. He threw out the male prostitutes that were part of the pagan worship. But he also made the mistake of aligning himself with Ahab to fight Ben-hadad. On the other hand, he refused to team with Ahab’s son who wanted to pool resources to go and find gold. When Jehosophat died, his son, Jehoram, took over.
Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, took over for him after Jehosophat had ruled in Judah for seventeen years. He only ruled for two years. He was about as evil as Ahab was. He was a Baal-worshipper and made Yahweh very mad just like his dad.
New Testament: Acts 13:16-41
Acts 13:16-41 Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure
In our last episode, the synagogue officials had asked if the disciples had any word of exhortation for the congregation. Paul raised his hand and then gave a sermon.
Paul recounted the history of the Jews from the time they left Egypt and wandered through the desert, had judges, a great prophet in Samuel, anointed a king and then replaced him with David. God promised that one of David’s descendants would be a Savior to Israel. He told how John the Baptist opened the way for Jesus.
Paul told them that Christ had been proclaimed in their Scriptures every week though they didn’t realize it and, in fact, the religious leaders had Jesus put to death by the Romans though there was no reason for it. He related how Jesus was put in a tomb but God raised Him from the dead and proved it by having Him appear to many in Jerusalem. Paul quoted Psalm 2:7, Ps. 16:10; Isa. 55:3 and 28:14 to support his case.
Paul told them that the law of Moses could not free them from their sin but belief in Christ could result in the forgiveness of sins. Talk about exhortations! He quoted Habakkuk 1:5 to encourage them to believe so they would not have to endure the consequences: judgment!
Psalm 138:1-8 A Thanksgiving Psalm By David
Psalm 138:1-8 Greater Than A Superhero
Psalm 138 is by David. David was a man after God’s own heart (cf. Acts 13:22; 1 Sam. 13:14). He begins the psalm by declaring that he is thanking God with his whole heart. David mentions thanks three times in these eight verses. That’s one way we know it’s a thanksgiving psalm.
When you give thanks to the Lord do you do it perfunctorily (word of the day: use it three times today and it will be yours)? Or are you genuinely sincere? Part of what I didn’t like about my church growing up was all the ritual. I didn’t feel any closer to God through it and didn’t imagine anyone else did either. But maybe I’m wrong. Naaahh . . . .
“Gods” in verse 1b, most likely is the same usage as Psalm 82:6 (see Here Come The Judges). There it meant judges who stood in God’s place and thus were referred to as “gods.” So it would mean that David praised God before the leaders of Israel.
David gives thanks for God’s faithful, binding, covenantal love (v. 2a). I first heard verse 2b cited by a seminary professor. He said, “isn’t it amazing that God would exalt His Word even above His name?” He had quoted the King James. The translation, more likely, should be like the NASB, “You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.” The idea is that God is as good as His Word. David knew he could trust God.
Since he knew that God could be trusted, he was not surprised that God answered him (cf. Jer. 33:3, aka, God’s phone number).
In the future, all of the kings of the earth will bow to Christ during the Millennium bringing gifts in worship (v. 4, cf. Isa. 18:7; Zech. 14:16). They will also sing and worship Him (v. 5).
Humility is the key to spirituality. Those who bow to Christ will be exalted (cf. 1 Pet. 5:5-6). He is only intimate with those who are humble (v. 6, cf. the Apostle John, aka, the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” John 21:20). Others He only knows as enemies (cf. James 4:6).
Verse 7 is reminiscent of Ps. 71:20-21, the verses God gave me right before I had six heart by-passes years ago. God will revive us when we feel like we have no life left. He will protect us from our enemies. His right arm, representing His strength, is more powerful than any superhero’s. He will use it to rescue us, spiritually and physically when we call on Him (cf. Mark 11:24; John 16:24; John 14:13-14). He will not forget the ones He created. He has a binding, hesed relationship with His Own (v. 8).
Whatever you are going through today, can you depend on God’s strength and power to help you? Will you give Him the glory after He answers you and provides for you?
Proverbs 17:17-18 Boundaries
A friend once gave me verse 17 as a representation of her love for me. She’s long gone. But I remember the verse. (It definitely was me, not her.)
If a friend is truly a friend, they will stick with you through thick and thin. That’s why marriage is till “death do us part.” Your spouse should be your best friend (v. 17b).
The opposite of a friend might be someone who wants unmerited favors from you. They might want you to co-sign on a loan for them or might want other favors that will just wear you out (for more on co-signing see the Proverbs sections of The Return of the King and Scraping Enemies Off His Shoes).
Verse 18 gives us permission to refuse people who would drain us of resources. A good book on the subject is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. If you have a big heart and have trouble telling people “no,” you should consider reading it.
Choose Life: Scripture: 1 Kings 22:8 NASB “You Can’t Handle The Truth!”
“The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah’ But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say so.'” 1 Kings 22:8
Micaiah is one of my absolute favorite characters in Scripture. He’s a wise guy. He must have been born in New Jersey. He always tells the truth and gets a little disgusted that others don’t want to hear the truth. I think Paul often suffered from the same thing (cf. Gal. 4:16, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”).
Why don’t people want to hear the truth? Of course, it is because of our sin nature (aka “the flesh,” see Rom. 7:25 in the NIV and then notice about any other translation like the NASB). We want to do what we want to do. We want to believe what we want to believe. This is a trend across the USA right now. The Bible is not being taught because pastors are afraid of offending anyone who is making up their own religion. Micaiah was not affected by any trends, especially the king’s made up religion supported by his false prophets.
The result was that the king “hated” Micaiah. But the good king, Jehosphat, insisted on a second opinion. Evil King Ahab only had one other prophet that could supply a second opinion. That was Micaiah. Micaiah used sarcasm to make his point that God didn’t favor Ahab’s plan, “Go ahead and attack,” (v. 15) he said. (Of course, he meant that Ahab shouldn’t attack. I love this guy!) He was thrown in prison and given bread and water to eat for telling the king the truth. A friend of mine says that no good deed ever goes unpunished.
In our New Testament reading today Peter was preaching and said, “‘Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses'” (Acts 13:38-39).
Jack Nicholson put it well one time in a movie, “You can’t handle the truth!” Except for the help of the Holy Spirit, we would ignore or distort all Biblical truth, from Genesis to Revelation and from the substitutionary atonement to end times.
Can you handle the truth?
If you can, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
I would think that a born-again Christian would want to know the truth (cf. John 3:21). Many don’t. That is the reality. I believe they are still saved but they are repressing the truth that the Holy Spirit wants them to know.
If you are saved, there should be an inner impulse to conquer sin and to learn more about the Bible, from cover to cover. The Navigator series Design For Discipleship is a good start. It’s seven Bible Studies that will help get you grounded in Bible Study and Bible teachings.
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure