Micaiah is the gutsiest prophet you may never have heard of. He was the least favorite prophet of King Ahab because he always told the truth. In 1 Kings 22 we are told the story of how Ahab wants to attack the city of Romoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat doesn’t want to do it without inquiring of the Lord. The king called for 400 prophets with one notable exception to ask them to inquire of the Lord. The prophets prophecied to the king exactly what he wanted to hear. There apparently wasn’t the ring of truth in what they were saying because Jehosaphat wanted to know if there was another prophet. Micaiah was reluctantly consulted and he was told what the others had said so as to bring him in line. When he was finally pushed into a corner he told the truth that the prophets were being used to entice Ahab into battle so that he would be killed. For speaking the Word of the Lord he was slapped on the face and put in jail. His words were proven true, however, as a random shot wounded and killed the king even though he was in disquise.
Our culture is in desperate need of Christians like Micaiah who will speak truth to power. I reread the Hans Kristian Anderson tale The Emporer’s Clothes to prepare for this blog. In it, some swindlers come to town purporting to have a kind of cloth that is invisible to those who are unworthy of their office of of bad character. Nobody wanted to admit that they couldn’t see the cloth so that people would think well of them. Jesus warned us to beware when all men think well of us. It took a courageous child to finally point out the truth that the king was not wearing any clothes.
I am like most people in that I like to be liked. Christians who make a difference, however, will get their face slapped from time to time. For the kingdom of God to come, there are principalities and powers that must be confronted and there are sacred cows that must be toppled. My need to be liked must be tempered by the overriding desire to see God’s kingdom come in power. There are swindlers who krept into Christianity and hijacked the orthodox Biblical teaachings about everything from the Christian view of prosperity to the prevailing views about the Second Coming of Christ. Churches everywhere struggle with systems and sacred cows that feed the insitution while keeping lost people out.
This week at Bethesda we took The Natural Church Development survey in order to see what areas we need to change in order to become a healthier church. It’s a process we went through at Christ Community and the changes resulted in an atmosphere where lost people could be saved and mature in their faith. I’m thankful for churches like Christ Community Church and Bethesda who are committed to courageously examining ourselves and making necessary changes in order to make a difference in the kingdom of God. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”