If King Ahab wanted divine guidance he had in his court three hundred prophets to ask to seek it for him.
These men were of the “give them want they want” sort. They were always upbeat, optimistic and indeed their revelations always accentuated the positive.
Their great fault lay in the fact they were out of touch with reality and had no true call from God. (Prophets of this sort are not extinct today.)
Michaiah the son of Imer did not belong to this group of “Yes “men. He bucked the trend and persisted in faithfully delivering the message of God regardless of whether it was socially acceptable or politically correct.
The prevailing mirth, opulence and idolatry of Ahab’s court was constantly spoiled by the doom and gloom “Thus saith the Lords” proclaimed by this “Specter at the Feast.
Indeed as far as this prophet was concerned the king had stopped listening to him.
It was only to humour Jehoshaphat King of Judah that Ahab was prevailed upon to call and hear what Michaiah had to say about the prospect of success at Ramoth Gilead.
Even the messenger sent to fetch the prophet could not help asking the prophet to fall into line with the prevailing atmosphere and keep his message upbeat.
In the interval one of the prophets “so-called”, Zedekaiah the son of Chenaanah, made a pair of iron horns as a visual aid to show what was going to happen to the Syrians at the triumphant hands of the king.
When Michaiah arrived it appeared that he had heeded the messenger’s advice and chimed in with what the rest of the prophets were saying. Even king Ahab was not fooled by this; he knew the prophet better than this and told him to deliver what God had told him to say.
The Word from the God of Israel was that not only would they not recover Ramoth Gilead but Ahab himself would fall in the battle.
For King Ahab this was a case of “Surprise, surprise”.
This was not merely a “Beware the ides of March” warning for Ahab; rather it was a fulfillment of God’s judgmental purpose on the wicked and faithless king with the angelic host engaged in decieving the king into pursuing his folly and “inspiring” the false prophets to delude him.
Naturally the three hundred time-servers were not pleased with the imputation of falsehood to their prophecies. Zedekaiah of the “iron Horns” fame, clouted Michaiah and called him a liar.
As a reward for his faithfulness Michaiah was consigned to prison on short rations as guarantor of Ahab’s safe return. Despite this the prophet told the king that he would not be coming back.
In a futile attempt to fool God, Ahab set aside his royal robes and dressed as a common soldier, to add to his ignominy, he told Jehoshaphat to remain in his royal regalia, in effect setting him up as an alternative target.
This duplicitous plan looked as if it had worked when the “Ahab” seeking Syrians mistook Jehoshaphat for the king of Israel and went after him. Mercifully for the godly ,if rather naïve king of Judah, the Lord intervened and turned the soldiers away from him.
Ahab could not escape God’s judgment; he was struck by a less than well aimed arrow and mortally wounded. Carried away in his chariot he expired at the setting of the sun.
Ahab had long seen God’s power and justice at work in his kingdom. Time and again God had sent his prophets to warn and punish the disobedient king and idolatrous kingdom. Nothing availed to turn the king away from his self pleasing, avaricious and murderous ways: He had stopped listening.
He would no longer heed anything that went against his royal pleasure. He closed himself off from the judgments that God sent to reform and bring him to true and lasting repentance. He would no longer hear anything that God said to him by the prophets and so received the consequences of rejecting the one true God.
While Ahab refused to hear, God was still able to see and no disguise could hide him from the Lord’s wrath.
Sadly there are millions in the World who cannot and will not hear God’s Word: The World at large is unwilling to stop its course of merriment and self seeking to give attention to God’s warning of judgment to come. It does not like the message because it loves wickedness, sin and self.
It deludes itself that all is well and they will escape the consequences of godlessness and sin.
Sticking cotton wool in your ears will not make any difference in the long run.
We all need to hear anew what God has to say to us in his Word, even though it may be humbling and unpalatable to our sensibilities and reminds us of our inherent sinfulness and unworthiness in God’s sight.
Through the preaching of the Gospel and the converting power of God some will hear and escape the wrath to come and place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and become new creations in the Heavenly kingdom.
In one of his farm sermons Spurgeon points out that many who sow the seed of the gospel, expect to see instantaneous results and feel frustrated if they do not. Others sow the seed but do not really expect any results at all. Some others see great results but they prove not so in reality.
He points out that as the farmer sows the seed and does what he can to nurture it, he is dependant of God to send the growth and increase.
Today we see the push for numbers and increase in attendances being sought at any price, but very often the true seed is not being sowed and we seek results from humanistic methods and means.
We are to be workers together with God, true to His Word and dependant on Him and his sovereignty for the results of our sowing the gospel seed.