“The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything good concerning me but always evil’” (2 Chronicles 18:7 NASB).
After the death of Asa Jehoshaphat his son became king over Judah. He reigned for 25 years and the Bible describes his reign favorably, doing right in the sight of God. His one flaw was in aligning himself with the kings of Israel who were consistently wicked. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1). He became united with Ahab, king of Israel, by marriage and went to visit him at Samaria. Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat to join him in going to war with the Arameans. Jehoshaphat being a righteous man agreed, but first wanted to hear from God. Ahab gathered together his prophets, 400 in all—not a one being a true prophet of God. Each of them assured Ahab of success. Jehoshaphat was not impressed by their credentials nor their words. He turned to Ahab and asked, “Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?” It turns out that in all Israel there was a single prophet of God, but Ahab wasted no time in expressing his opinion of this man of God, “I hate him.” Ahab hated Micaiah because he spoke the clear Word of God. The wicked man cannot endure sound preaching, while a righteous man cannot endure the false.
Ahab’s words express plainly the heart of most men regarding the preaching of the Word of God. They despise it. Paul described them, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teacher in accordance to their own desires” (2Tim. 4:3). Ahab despised Micaiah, not because of his actions, but because of his words—“he never prophesies anything good.” Many people share the heart of Ahab. They despise preaching. They cannot imagine themselves sitting for an hour listing to some man rant about a portion of the Bible. And if they do attend, they will often take offense over what they hear.
Sadly, some Christians are not far different from Ahab in their approach to the proclamation of God’s Word. They fail to comprehend the weightiness of the words. Some dismiss the words because they don’t care for the preacher—”I hate him.” In our generation many dismiss the words because they have been conditioned by their endless exposure to media. They watch TV or movies for entertainment, but don’t really expect any life-changing impact upon their lives. There is no authority contained in a movie. They are exposed to the many news sources but dismiss much of what they hear as “fake news.” They enter the worship service as a spectator and see the preaching as yet one more form of expression to be received or rejected at will. They are just words and ideas spoken by a man. If they don’t like the words they like they reject them, or perhaps even despise the one who spoke them. Few see preaching of the Word of God as a matter of life or death. This puts a weighty responsibility upon the preacher. Like Micaiah, he must be careful to preach only the Word of God.