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Friday, October 27, 2006

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"The Voice Of Truth"

Micaiah declared, "If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me." Then he added, "Mark my words, all you people!" (2 Chronicles 18:27).

Like many readers I have an interest in Bible prophesy. This Saturday I will be attending a prophesy conference at Lancaster Bible College.  It will be interesting hearing from Tim LaHaye and others and their perspective on how current events may have a role in Bible prophesy and the culmination of this age.  I do appreciate perspectives on Bible prophesy, but have grown very skeptical when one with great dogmatism claims to know exact dates or the exact steps Christ will take in fulfilling His future promises.

But prophesy has so often been used wrongly.  Over the years I have heard and read attempts at very specific prophetical pronouncements concerning the return of the Lord with a "thus saith the Lord" type of authority.  Many have come up with fanciful conjectures of just how things will be along with proof texts from the Bible. Thus far one by one their theories have been proven wrong.  Many will recall a book titled, "88 reasons Christ will return in 1988." Wow, that was almost twenty years ago!  And we're still here.

I have also seen much abuse in regard to a practice in some churches called "personal prophecy" where a person with a presumed gift seeks to direct others in regard to the will of the Lord.  Many years ago we had a troubled couple in our congregation visit a prominent and "deeply spiritual" type minister for counseling.  He pronounced a "personal prophecy" that they would have a child and this would "be the answer to their troubles". The fact was that they already had two children and their marriage and family was a mess.   Not long after this their marriage broke up.

Yesterday's message was about a little-known prophet who took a stand for the Lord although he was in the minority.  Micaiah stated, "As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what my God says" (2 Chronicles 18:13).

In the context surrounding our Scripture today the kings had consulted the prophets regarding their battle plans.  "Go," they answered, "for God will give it into the king's hand."  In fact one of them by the name of Zedekiah added some flamboyant visual effects similar to the style of some of the TV evangelists of our time!

But Micaiah's prophetical word is summed up in this simple pronouncement: "The LORD has decreed disaster for you."  That's certainly not what Ahab wanted to hear!  It was very specific and Ahab was told he would not return from the battle alive.

So Ahab attempted to silence the prophet with these orders, "Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely."

Micaiah's final word is a great statement of prophetical responsibility, "If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me." Then he added, "Mark my words, all you people!" (2 Chronicles 18:27).

Notice the responsibility Micaiah took. He forthrightly stated that if Ahab returned safely "the LORD has not spoken through me." I have seen quite a few miss the mark in situations that parallel our story today, but just go on to try again and again. Guess enough on issues and sometimes they're going to get it right!  This is true of astrologists as well.

Ahab ignored the counsel of Micaiah and died on the battlefield.  An amazing detail about Scripture that intrigues me is that the very last we read about Micaiah is that he's in prison waiting for Ahab to return safely.  There's no record of what happened to him after Ahab did not return safely.  He will be one of the prophets I'm going to want "the rest of the story" from when I get to heaven!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, far too often we want quick fixes or want to know the exact means in which You are going to work in our lives.  But even as the Gospel is in ways a mystery unfolding, so is Your leading in our lives. If we had it all figured out and knew exactly how everything was going to fall into place, we'd be walking by sight rather than trusting by faith.  We know that "faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.  It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see."  We are better acquainted with Your plans for our lives as You have revealed Your will through prophets of old and modern day prophets who are consistent with the Scripture laid out before us.  Help us to be reassured today as we keep the words of Solomon before us, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  May Your Voice of Truth always be our guide in testing the spirits of those who are quick to say, "Thus saith the Lord" or "God told me…" to see if they are truly representative of Your voice speaking to us.  Amen.

Verses used  in our daily prayer:
*Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
*Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Read today's story in its entirety online 2 Chronicles 18

Quiz answer: Yesterday I wrote how I was recently giving a teaching on the prophets and had shared with the class how we often subdivide the portion of the Bible written by the prophets into the Major Prophets and Minor Prophets. I pointed out that there were five books in the Major Prophets and twelve books in the Minor Prophets. I then asked the class, "So how many prophets are there?"  One class member instantly answered "sixteen", but his quick math was off by one (a mistake any of us could make.)  Five plus twelve equals seventeen! I stunned the class when I noted that actually he was right, so for an online stump quiz can anyone tell me why?  The answer – One prophet, Jeremiah, has two books written by him and both are reckoned as "Major Prophets" (Jeremiah and Lamentations). As one response noted, "he did double-duty"!  By the way something to remember is that there is no difference in inspiration or importance between the two sets.

As we consider a supplemental song for today's message a great song written in the last several years is by Casting Crowns titled, "Voice of Truth" (mp3 audio)

One of my favorite perspectives regarding end-time events is from Joel Rosenberg, a messianic Jew with an orthodox Jewish background. However I consider his material just a perspective.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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