Lesson 4 -- third quarter 2001
June 24, 2001
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications
What can color or hinder our message?
The account of Micaiah and the two kings holds particular interest for me because the king of Israel had to tell him to speak forth his true message. (It appears to me that Micaiah was holding back to make a point, not out of fear.) This gets my attention because at times I allow my message to be colored or hindered by certain factors.
Fear. I may fear being misrepresented or misunderstood. I may fear diminishing people's opinion of me. I may fear making life difficult for my family. I may fear losing friends, position or support. These and other fears can easily get in the way of the messenger and his message. So the message is changed a bit here and there; softened and made less specific, you know. Perhaps the message is ditched altogether. And thus again the fear of man overcomes our fear of God.
Bias. He stood up for me when others wouldn't; now I have a message for him, but I can hardly "do it to him." She loaned me some desperately-needed funds; how can I now reprove her and show her the error of her attitude? They are such good friends of mine, I must cut them some slack and give them the benefit of the doubt. In all these scenarios, a bias in favor of someone has minimized or destroyed the message. A negative bias can accomplish the same result. He is one I can never please, so I'll gladly give it to him straight. She has a track record for gossiping about me; I'm so glad I get to be the one to rebuke her about something else. They are such a bunch of complainers; I can easily deliver a bold, unminced message to them. And so a bias against someone has corrupted the message.
Why did the kings disregard the prophet's message?
Micaiah had a solemn message of warning and impending doom. The kings had asked for his advice; insisted on it, in fact. Notice how the king of Israel wrote off the message by insisting the messenger just had it in for him. In addition to that reason for discarding the prophet's message, here you have three other possibilities to consider.
Their hearts were not after God. Neither of these kings had a heart wholly after God. It seems they inquired of God hoping for His assurance of victory, but not intending to heed His message if it turned out to be something other than what they wanted to hear. How committed am I to the will and ways of God? As His child, I must always be ready to do His bidding, even if I don't like it right then.
Their minds were made up. These kings knew what they wanted to do, and they didn't plan to change for anyone, not even God. They had settled on a plan, they had chosen a course of action, and that was that. How set am I in my own ways and preferences? How readily do I flex and bend according to God's plan, especially when it is different from mine? I wonder how often we have so set our minds on something that we refuse to change . . . even for God.
Did peer pressure enter in? Seemly both kings thought the other would think less of him for suggesting they pay attention to the prophet's message. Neither wanted to appear weak, cowardly or uncertain of himself. I would also say each wanted to impress the other. Neither wanted to humble himself before prophet or God. Neither had the courage to stand alone. So they both gave in to a form of peer pressure. To think they each could have exerted positive peer pressure on the other! But how well do we do in related circumstances? My friend, learn to withstand bad peer pressure; learn to be positive peer pressure!
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