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Ignorance is not bliss and it is not an excuse

These days the truth takes a bit of a beating. In poll after poll, people make excuses for not telling the truth. Do not let that deceive you into believing that the truth doesn’t matter to people. Though people may compromise their own good name by telling lies for their benefit, few things make a person angrier than being lied to.

When we think of the most respected people in our lives one thing I am certain of is that respected people always tell the truth. A good name, a great reputation, exemplary character and telling the truth simply go together.

Last week I raised some tough Biblical questions about honesty and lying, and closed with a challenge to go deeper by studying one of the more difficult scenes in the Bible in I Kings 22. King Ahab is a terrible king. Biblically speaking, this is always judged by the king’s faith and obedience to God. His sins against God have come to the point that God has condemned Ahab to die, or at least God has condemned Ahab to experience the circumstances that will lead to his death.

The scene is King Ahab’s royal court, and the prophets are all trying to speak for God. All tell King Ahab to go to war that God will give him victory. All except one, Micaiah, who tells King Ahab he will die in this battle. God has set him up. Micaiah then shares this odd scene from heaven.

“Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him (Ahab).’ “‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’” (I Kings 22:21-22).

Our initial response is to find it quite objectionable that God would allow a “spirit” to plant lies in the mouths of prophets so Ahab is deceived, and goes into battle to bring on his death. Doesn’t this go against everything we believe about God and the truth?

Last week I reminded us that the Bible is God’s word, and so God is not going to speak to us in contradictory ways simply to confuse us. I don’t even think this scene is about truth vs. lies. God has already established that he is a God of truth. Even though he commissions a “spirit” to sow lies in the mouths of prophets, he sends one prophet with his truth, thus turning this scene into a great and difficult test for all concerned.

Micaiah is being tested to see if he will be the lone voice of truth for God in the midst of all the other false prophetic voices. The rest of the prophets are being tested to see if they can humble themselves before God enough to realize that the voice they are hearing is not God’s. Ahab is facing the greatest test of all, for his life is on the line. Will he seek the face of God to understand which voice to listen to, or will he do whatever he wants as he has done through most of his reign as king?

God sets tests before us all the time. Most tests are small tests to move us slowly and gently toward his will for our lives. Some tests are difficult, and require us to have great faith to pass the test. You can be sure God is testing you right now in some way to make you better. If you cannot think of anyway God is doing this then I suggest you start praying for eyes to see and ears to hear because you are suffering from convenient blindness and deafness. Just because you don’t know how God is testing you doesn’t mean God isn’t testing you. In such matters ignorance is not bliss.

Another lesson I have learned about God’s tests is that when we fail a test God does not give up on us. However, the next test is likely to be a bit harder. That is what happened to King Ahab. He had failed so many tests that God resorted to one of the most extreme tests recorded in the Bible. Sadly, Ahab failed one more time, and paid for his failure with his life.

How is God testing you right now? What are you supposed to learn from this test? Has God been trying to teach you this lesson very long? What do you need to do/believe to pass this test? The small tests get us ready for the big tests. Be prepared for the big tests!

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see lagrangepres.com.