Don’t Look At Me In That Tone Of Voice

“And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?”

1 Kings 22:18
There exists in the modern news and media industries a design flaw concerning the handling of truth. The Bible predicted this degradation in 2 Timothy 4:3, 

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

The last miracle of Jesus Christ on earth was to heal the ear of one of his enemies. Disregard for the facts has always been a wound in the ear of the skeptic.Now more than ever it seems that men are chopping off their own ears lest they be offended at what they hear.

The naive ‘truth-seeker’ (or ‘investigative reporter’ or ‘hard-line factualist’ or whatever) does not understand why a culture, yea, a world so obsessed with KNOWING would reject sound doctrine. Doesn’t everyone want to be told the truth? Are there really people today who appreciate being lied to? 

Our text today is an excerpt from the scene inside King Ahab’s palace in the northern kingdom of Israel. The godless false prophets had gathered to bring good news to the prospect of war with Syria. (They’ve been around the block a few times- better read your Old Testament) King Ahab had made an alliance with Judah’s southern kingdom also, and King Jehoshaphat was entertained by the theatrics as well. (Read the ‘1 Kings 22’ in the Bible Lookup search box on the right to see what I mean.)
King Jehoshaphat was raised listening to the ‘old prophets’ and he knew something was missing. His gut told him so. He inquires of King Ahab, “isn’t there a prophet of the LORD here?” 
King Ahab’s reply is characteristic of every newspaper, every TV documentary, every talk radio station, every opinion blog, every commentary, report, and discussion that is forced to turn to a Bible-believing Christian for the word of God: “There is yet one man…. By whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”

So much of modern conflict cannot be grasped outside of an acquaintance with Bible history. And every perusal of the Scriptures carries with it the conviction and reproof of the Author where it confronts the reader’s sins. Is it any wonder why they choose to stay in the dark?

Do not ever let yourself be fooled or deceived on this main issue: the devil has a problem with truth in every way; its propagation, study, understanding, and any attention paid to it. And since the devil has a problem, therefore, anyone or anything under his influence will blur, distort, ignore, or otherwise ridicule TRUTH. Any man connected to God’s word is going to be caught in the middle of this; and they had better have a tough hide.

Micaiah did. He had integrity. He was prepared to put his life on the line for what God said. The servant who summoned him for the kings admired Micaiah, but didn’t want to see him killed. Perhaps he knew it wasn’t worth wasting time with them, as they had already made up their mind; whatever the case, this brings up the second issue: compromise.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) 

The servant knew what was going to happen. I tend to believe Micaiah did too. The question is, Why mess with a guy who already has his mind made up? Why stir the pot? (See Job 3:23) The devil would have you believe the messenger is the center of attention, with your reputation, your future, your honour, and your family at stake, therefore making it your choice.

Now look at it this way: Why speak the truth and mess up an otherwise God-less ordeal? Why not?

The messenger is just, well, the messenger. Listen, God has two types of servants, two kinds of disciples, only two brands of followers: those who go and tell, and those who sit still and shut up. Micaiah wasn’t the strong, silent type to say the least.

He chose to go along with the servant, however, for some unsaid reason. Maybe it was sarcasm- maybe it was just fatalism. Perhaps the Lord laid it on his heart to mock the lying prophets, or perhaps he was just fed up with the government’s insincerity. Whatever the reason Micaiah experienced a powerful and precise lesson you and I need to heed- starting today.

Here’s how it played out: And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear?
And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

Now that was what they wanted him to say, but look at the reaction!
And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?

Ah, the pure-hearted, meek and lowly truth-seekers. How genuine! How altruistic! Bleaaaaagh!

There you have it. A classic case of the hyper-sensitive, thin-skinned, over-reactive response you need to get used to for the next 13 months of presidential nominations and elections. The preacher gave them what they wanted to hear in the first delivery, but they rejected it based on an unwritten, yet understood transaction. Micaiah said the words that King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat (democrat and republican) wanted to hear, but they must not have sounded like the other prophets’. It must have been his tone of voice.
Folks, whether you are saved or lost, you need to be aware of this phenomenon. People no longer listen to what is said, they listen to how it comes across. I observed this as I waded through each page of transcript from the first and second GOP debates. Very rarely do the candidates state a mission, purpose, or goals. Few if any could qualify as statesmen. Poll numbers and public support for these candidates is based almost entirely on their ‘stage presence’. Those that propose right and just causes that resound with American values are judged most decidedly on how flamboyant and attractive their speech is. Since we require a good actor, all we seem to generate are just that: actors.
A preacher is very acutely aware of this treatment. Rare is the congregation that would tolerate a Jonathan Edwards, who read word-for-word from his lectern “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” let alone respond and seek revival because of it. All preachers, and especially pastors, are expected to be excited, even when they are forced to repeat a topic due to someone’s lack of attention. They are expected to make you laugh, even when they must deliver a solemn warning. They are to be hot when the audience is cold, and cool when the crowd is in a mad riot. Despite all their best efforts to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, it is not enough in an effeminate, deviant society if the TONE is not right.
The truth is being gagged in the land of freedom of speech. Once Micaiah stopped playing their game, they stopped listening altogether. Sadly, this is the status quo of the 21st century sinner. “…never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)
I offer therefore a two-fold plea: 1. to be not intimidated by this world’s braggadocio, and, 2. to imitate it never. Don’t blend in with the modern movement of showmanship- proclaim the truth. The truth set you free. The truth sanctified you. Speak the truth in love, and let men say what they will. What is truth, you say? “Jesus saith unto him, I am… the truth.” (John 14:6) 
Lastly, I offer an opinion for the suffrage of this country: we began with God’s favor, and we cannot continue without it. The man who is not ashamed of Jesus Christ is the only one equipped enough to be entrusted with the control of this nation. God will give him wisdom where he lacks it, if he will be bold enough to give God the credit for it. Do you know who that candidate is? You’d better find out, and pray, pray, pray!
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Galatians 4:16

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