“So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’” -1 Kings 22:8
Being a Christian takes sacrifice. Jesus’ gospel is not the prosperity gospel…there is no guarantee of success and health. If you don’t believe me, you take a look at the lives of Peter…and James…and Stephen…and Paul. This is just a small handful of people from the time of Jesus. The list grows exponentially when you include the Old Testament prophets and priests, the other Christians in the early church, and modern-day martyrs. Jesus told us in Luke that following Him requires us to carry a cross daily.
Yet, there is blessing in that sacrifice because we know we are trading the perishable for the imperishable, the temporary for the eternal. It is always encouraging for me to see examples of this in Scripture.
And that takes us to Micaiah.
In 1 Kings 22, we are told of how Ahab (King of Israel) and Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) met together to discuss battle plans. In a bizarre move of naivety, Jehoshaphat had allied himself with the outspokenly wicked Ahab. But before he fully committed to attacking a certain army, Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from the Lord (v. 5). 400 prophets were brought in, all of whom said that the mission would be successful. Yet, something was missing– there was no prophet from the Lord. And so, Jehoshaphat requests to hear from the one God-honoring prophet in the kingdom: Micaiah.
Micaiah did not have a great history with Ahab: “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil’” (v. 8a). Nevertheless, Micaiah was summoned.
On his journey to see the kings, he was accompanied by a messenger. Verse 13 says, “Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, ‘Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.’” Imagine the pressure– Micaiah knew that prophesying doom for Ahab could result in his death…after all, the king was notorious for his hatred of God’s people. Yet, see Micaiah’s response in verse 14:
And Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.”
He had chosen his ground. Despite being outnumbered, Micaiah had made the choice to stand firm on truth, no matter the consequences.
After he had arrived to address to the kings, Micaiah prophesied what the Lord had commanded him to: that Ahab would not return. The king was upset with this, and he had Micaiah arrested and jailed until he would “come in peace” (verse 27). Despite hearing the word of the Lord, Ahab was defiant in proclaiming his agenda.
Standing for the Lord will cost you. We don’t know what happened to Micaiah…whether he was released, detained longer, or killed. Similarly, when we take a stand for the Lord, we might not know what the implications are…we might not know the influence it had on others or what happened as a result. But take heart from the rest of the account in 1 Kings 22…because we know what happened to Ahab.
34 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”
35 The battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out from the wound onto the floor of the chariot. 36 Then, as the sun was going down, a shout went throughout the army, saying, “Every man to his city, and every man to his own country!”
37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.
The word of the Lord proved true…again. It has never failed. Take solace in that truth– that even though our stands for Christ can lead to discomfort at best and death at worst, God will win out. Yes, there’s a price to pay. But in the end, God will prevail. In fact, He already has prevailed.