John 13:1-20; 2 Chronicles 18; Psalm 78:21-37
Political matchmaking doesn’t always end up with the best decisions. Jehoshaphat had married someone in Ahab’s family. Jehoshaphat had been a pretty good king, following the Lord. Ahab, on the other hand, followed the apostate ways of the kings of Israel. Jehoshaphat went down for a visit and at the party Ahab suggested a good old fashioned battle. What else did kings do those days? Jehoshaphat agreed and then asked about a prophet of the Lord. Ahab brought out his gaggle of prophets who all followed the party line and encouraged Ahab. Jehoshaphat wasn’t impressed. “But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?’ So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’” (2 Chronicles 18:6-7) Ahab didn’t want to hear from Micaiah because he might have a different viewpoint. Jehoshaphat wouldn’t budge and so the prophet of the Lord came out. As he spoke the truth of God and predicted Ahab’s death, Ahab was naturally enraged and ordered Micaiah to prison until he returned. Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat to wear royal robes while Ahab would be in disguise. Why Jehoshaphat agreed to be a target is incomprehensible. He drew the attention of the Syrians, but was able to escape, but the cowardly Ahab was killed by a random arrow shot. Ok, long story. We deal with people like Ahab all the time. These are the people who are in rebellion against God. They don’t want to hear from Him. They have their reasons – that’s not important. What’s important is how we react to them. We can’t shut them off and ignore them. We may find ourselves in uncomfortable positions as we relate to them – but relate we must. Developing a relationship with them may be the first step to bringing them back to a relationship with God. We stay true to the word of God – not in a judgmental way, though. We listen to their viewpoint and we share our viewpoint in an even exchange. “I understand that this is how and why you do things your way, this is why I do things my way.” We have to be willing to be sacrificial. Jehoshaphat allowed himself to become a target. The end for Ahab was bad, but it wasn’t any worse than it would have been without Jehoshaphat making the effort. In fact, Ahab might have spent some time while he was dying thinking about Micaiah and his message. As we work to develop and restore relationships with our friends who reject God, though, we give them lots of opportunities to develop their own relationship to God. Some will turn back to Him; some won’t. Some we may know about; some we won’t. The whole idea is to open doors and give God a chance to work.
Lord, I have friends who need You. They have rejected You and don’t want to hear from You. Let me be the kind of person who shows them the joy that comes from a relationship with You.