Updated: Jul 5
"But I hate him," Ahab reported of Micaiah, God's prophet. Jehoshaphat, the virtuous King of Judah, sat with Ahab, the wicked King of Israel, to ponder one question: Should they go to war together against Syria? Peace had endured three years with the pagan nation, but Ahab desired the city of Ramoth for Israel.
"And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?" - 1 Kings 22:3
Jehoshaphat agrees to fight with Ahab but desires to hear first from God. Ahab calls his four hundred prophets, who, with one voice, said to go.
"Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king." - 1 Kings 22:6
The kind of people who you request counsel tells us what kind of person you are. These men were not messengers of God, and King Jehoshaphat knew that.
"And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?" - 1 Kings 22:7
To Jehoshaphat, four hundred consultants of any other god could not replace one man that feared God. There is one, Ahab reluctantly answers, Micaiah. "But I hate him." Why did Ahab hate the true prophet?
"And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so." - 1 Kings 22:8
The kind of person you hate can reveal what kind of person you are.
Ahab loved the four hundred yes-men close to him. He loved to hear his views returned to himself unaltered. He loved only confirming words and positive sentiments, not a God-fearing person with untamed and unexpected words. The kind of man Ahab hated showed the kind of man he was.
Who Are You?
From Micaiah's perspective: The kind of person who despises you also may tell you what kind of person you are. Ahab hated Micaiah because Ahab hated Micaiah's God.
Micaiah's commitment to God was not shallow. It wasn't a religious amusement to be picked up and put down. His faithfulness went to the heart. Ahab would kill the prophet before he destroyed the prophet's faith. Can the same be said about us?
Whether struck in the face, questioned, or incarcerated by Ahab, he followed God. Ahab knew what he could expect from this believer who feared God. Ahab could anticipate God's truth to be spoken, and he hated him for it.
What Is Christlike Confrontation?
So, do the right people dislike us?
If we are mature believers who are humble, patient, and loving, will we ever be disliked?
Many Western Christians are tempted and indulgent to an agreeableness unfamiliar to Micaiah. We stand ready to give a sympathetic word and positively uplift but do not go on to ever risk anything that might disgruntle. Unbelievers feel unrestrained to parade their obscenities and perversities before our eyes without discretion, but it is ours to keep quiet and let them perish out of politeness.
For Western Christianity, Jesus, in such whip-making, temple-clearing aggression, is no longer our choice brand of Christlikeness. Christlikeness that is confrontational seems to them no Christlikeness at all, despite the New Testament's consistent testimony to it.
We Are Hated For The Master
We need our gentle and beloved Johns in this day, but we must also recognize that our beloved and gentle John was also persecuted and exiled for not changing God's truth. Polish as much as you like; we will never smooth over the offense of the cross.
If no one dislikes you on account of Christ, it's likely not because you have evolved into a greater, more endearing person to the lost than Jesus, the apostles, or the line of persecuted Christians throughout history. If no one dislikes you because of Christ, it is probably because you have lived too quietly about Jesus, too lukewarm, or too much like the world for them to detect the distinction. Was that not part of Jesus' message in the upper room?
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." - John 15:19-21
If we witness for Jesus authentically long enough, the world will hate us. We don't seek their hatred, but we do prepare for it. Do we expect pats on the back from those who would nail Christ to the cross?
"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." - Luke 6:26
The world's hatred doesn't always confirm our commitment to Christ. It may be owing to our sin. But in this disorderly world, we must consider, as Micaiah, that frowns and even a jail cell can be a better sign of dedication than smiles and congratulations.
Loving In An Oversensitive Generation
After a rebuke from Jehoshaphat, Ahab sends for the prophet of his contempt. When found, Ahab's representative prepares Micaiah for the discussion:
"And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good." - 1 Kings 22:13
Speak approvingly, Micaiah. Watch your tongue. Don't worry; everyone else is doing it. Micaiah responds,
"And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak." - 1 Kings 22:14
Is that my motto? Even when it will cost me?
We love to comfort and encourage people. And yet, in an age oversensitive to hard truths, we must still warn and rebuke, no matter what.
Some curses can be compliments and, more than compliments, blessings.
Just as we can find Ahab in the culture and churches, we might find too little Micaiah in us. But what our God says, we must speak.
Christians in the modern world should be one refusing to lead by holding their finger up to sense the changes in the wind. We stand accountable to our Master only.
Joyful are those churches whose pastors are emancipated from the bonds of social expectation, freed to expose the world's foolishness in light of God's Word.
What kind of Christians are we? Curses can be compliments and, more than compliments, blessings.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." - Luke 6:22
The kind of people who hate us will reveal what kind of person we are.