No one likes it when someone else says something bad or critical about you. Jehoshaphat was not in the minority when complaining to the King of Israel about certain prophets because they never prophesy anything good about him (v. 8). Even if criticism is constructive, it can still hurt. Especially if it doesn’t go our way or if it’s truth that reveals sin or hurt. And that’s exactly what still happens in this story as Micaiah prophecies and the King says “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” in verse 16. But he wasn’t afraid to speak truth, especially when coming from God and we should be no different. Sometimes, as Christians, we must deliver hard truths to others or even hear them ourselves. We must not have the same attitude as Jehoshaphat who only wanted to hear the good, whether it’s truth from God or not.
Verse 23 has been a source of confliction for Christians who know that we worship a God who keeps his promises and does not lie. God represents truth and in a world of “alternative facts” and “your truth doesn’t mean it’s my truth” this passage confuses us because it shows how God uses what is called “a lying spirit” for His good purposes. The ESV Study Bible does a great job explaining some of this by saying:
“Though God himself does not do evil, he sometimes uses evil agents to accomplish his purposes (see notes on 1 Sam. 16:14; 2 Chron. 18:15–22).”
God still hates lies and keeps His promises but it doesn’t mean He won’t use things in this fallen world for His Will and Plan. I think of this when international missionaries are put into situations where they have to lie to bring Bibles into other countries and certain sinful situations that God redeems later because we know that Romans 8:28 is true.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together hfor good, for ithose who are called according to his purpose.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor