AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH June 6, 2010
A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
I Kings 22
TIRESOME TROUBLES FOR DYING TRUTH
WHICH YET LIVES TO MAKE DEAD NOUGHTS OF DREADNOUGHTS
Miserable Misalliance Means Multiple Mischief
There was once a king of maleficent power and dizzy dynamic. To desire is to have, seems to have been his motto. His name was Ahab, and in I Kings 22 we find him, after first lusting for the land adjoining the palace of some commoner, receiving it through the lying fraud of his wife. She used slander against the owner and contrived to get the populace roused against him so that he was stoned. The property then being ... vacant, the King was free to take it. He did not hesitate to do so. He name was Jezebel and his name was mud.
In the vineyard to which Ahab, for that was the King's name, went to take possession, he was met by a faithful servant and prophet of the Lord, none less than Elijah, showing that the Lord took account of these regal dealings and reelings from righteousness as if it were a plague. In fact, in I Kings 21:18, He sent him, and more than that, told him where to find the King, in the vineyard. He delivered a judgment, a sentence from God: The pith of it was this, at the practical level. In the place where dogs licked the blood of (slain, murdered) Naboth, the former owner of the vineyard, they will lick YOUR blood!
Ahab seeing Elijah, and having had experience of him in the matter of rain withheld for 3 years because of his woeful idolatries and rebellions against God, leading to the death of the false priests who had fostered it, indeed in the matter of rain returning when the menace was cleared from that theocratic land, at once expostulated! Have you found me O my enemy! he exclaimed. He would be found out by the God of righteousness in far more searching ways than this. SO if you are caught in any follies, disjoin from them as in a cancer operation. Cancer is safer than these. Ahab was temporarily abashed, and was given a little more time by the Lord. In this, he pursued his rampant follies. In its outcome, this teaches us wisdom: from evil, don't just relent, but actually repent.
Three years passed. So does wickedness polish its crown and smile smugly at its vision and wisdom, and many congratulate it, as some now do the invasion of Israel in its little rump of land, left to it after the theft of most of it for Jordan, from the original Palestinian 'home' given by the League of Nations. Ahab had an idea. There had been peace with Syria for a while, and he had a notion to get some more land for the nation, and not this time, just for himself (I Kings 22:1ff.). The needs of greed seemed not to diminish but rather to expand. Asking righteous King Jehoshaphat (by a terrible error of the same, Ahab's son-in-law) to help him, he decided to try to regain control of the location of Ramoth in Gilead. This was to be his ruin.
Jehoshaphat, though an eminently sound King, was given to one weakness that was all but fatal. He had this trend to ally himself where he did not belong, both in marriage and now later in war. He agreed to accompany, with his own troops from Judah, King Ahab of the North (this then being called 'Israel' since its separation from the rest). In some four episodes he tried to accompany the wicked, in marriage, in this war, in another and in a commercial operation which failed miserably, in ship building for maritime enterprise.
Indeed on one later occasion, the prophet who met him and the foolish king of Israel declared that if it were not for Jehoshaphat being there, he would not even have SEEN the king of Israel (II Kings 3:14, as if he were invisible!). The horrified prophet played on music to still himself, before God enabled him to meet the need of the foolish medley on that occasion.
Let us return, however, to this earlier occasion. With Ahab, Jehoshaphat is making alliance with a python, misalliance with a monster. Indeed, after the battle in which Jehoshaphat was miraculously delivered, the prophet Jehu came and said in immense rebuke: " Should you love the wicked and love those who hate the Lord!" he asked (II Chronicles 19:2), declaring that the wrath of the Lord was upon Jehoshaphat, though he would be spared.
Strident Self-Confidence Manufactures Eventual Ruin
Meanwhile, the fatal events unfolded, which brought this rebuke. Jehoshaphat marched off with his wicked and corrupt murderer father-in-law, to battle. The idolatrous Israel produced 400 prophets, a sort of WCC grouping, and they all declared that the battle would have a good outcome.
But let us rather have a prophet of the Lord, said righteous Jehoshaphat, blind to the fact HE SHOULD NEVER have been even in earshot of this synthetic and godless muddle. Micaiah, a prophet of the Lord came and pretended to agree, ironically, with the 400. Challenged by Ahab, who realised the bite in the sound bytes, the Lord's prophet Micaiah declared that these prophets were lying, that the Lord had sent to Israel in this thing a lying spirit, for an evil king, and that he would remove him from Israel. Thus careless mutiny against the word and ways of the Lord can produce a delusion! (II Thessalonians 2). This is one form of self-indulgence which is not indulged.
Ahab made it clear that Micaiah would be dealt with on his return from battle; but Micaiah, full of the Spirit of God, roundly retorted that if Ahab came back from the battle AT ALL, then the Lord had not spoken by him! That is faith, that is confidence; but the false confidence of Ahab was to be his last! From Deuteronomy 13, we see Micaiah risked his life for his faithful rebuke.
The Word of God Cannot be Lynched
As if all this was not enough, Ahab tricked and all but trapped his so readily spiritually seduced son-in-law, made a partner in madness for the occasion. Seemingly humbly, deferring to Jehoshaphat, he said he would go into battle as if merely a common soldier, leaving King Jehoshaphat in fact as the most visible presence for enemy arrows. However, the Lord had His own providential answer, and never under-estimate HIS actions! A bowsman seeing a medley of fighting, fired an odd arrow into the midst of it. Staggeringly (and this literally for Ahab), it 'happened' to hit him, and he died during the fighting, and the dogs licked the blood where his chariot came to rest, when it was washed, for it was taken back to Samaria. The city that saw the blood of murdered Naboth found, seeping for the dogs no less, that of his exalted murderer, who died slowly, while the victim, whose property he took, died fast under stoning.
Smitten, He Revives, Murdered He Rises even from the Dead
Like lies and fraud against the Lord, Ahab died. In providence, puny assassins of truth are exposed, and the certainty of take-over of innumerable evils becomes but a tarnished memory. How much more when all these trials and tests are over, does the Lord, whom death could not break, who even brought some of the beauties of heaven to earth after the resurrection, expose after all is past, the pith. This He may do by the long shot of His supervision of all, the arrows of events, amid the forces of ruin against righteousness, however many may be the kings, cults and frauds who like a mice plague, seek or act to overcome the church, do violence to truth and murder man in the image of God, or seek to make of him a puppet for survival at the sound of folly. Psalm 2 has denounced it all long ago! It has moreover announced its outcome, advising the 'judges' to beware.
It is time that all people who name the sacred name of Jesus Christ, re-append the title, LORD, and DO what they are told, re-affix the term Saviour, and rely on Him for the Rest-Not-In-Peace provision for the invasive sins that seek to overthrow the rule of righteousness. It starts by being personal; it proceeds by His return to rule the earth before its dismissal (Acts 1:7ff., Psalm 2, 98:9, Isaiah 11, Micah 4). It is time to trust vitally in Him, not in misalliance whether with worldly politics, or savvy sophistication, to seek spirituality not recline amid haughty hollowness, heeding a great mouth seeking to engulf and even commandeer morals amid amoral rebellion against the God of righteousness, using HIS name to mislead HIS people.
Depart therefore from your Ahabs, and the fraudulent spiritual professionals who re-do the dizzy act of false prophet Zedekiah, even using visual aids. Do not seek to arouse the fury of the Lord, whether by exalting folly, in the UN, the WCC, the anti-Israel gang who violate everything to gain nothing, ignoring the Lord's appointment; for these will not come blameless from their alliance with Israel's annihilatory foes. They are but human Babels of the 21st century, awaiting the arrow of the Lord.
As to Israel, convenient crushing of this land might gain ready oil outside the Gulf of Mexico, and seem to reduce Islamic menace; but it does not make for righteousness. Setting false prophets on high, to which in words on the Koran, President Obama has contributed, does not make for any national cleansing, but rather a befouling, as of the very seas. The fast-flowing Gulf of Mexico events may be a divine comment on Obama's comments, in his fast-flowing speech, lauding the Christ-defiling Koran. As to Israel, it is underwritten, though they did indeed smite Christ, as a nation. Does not the whole body of the Christian Church come from repentant people! If some Gentiles have become converted since, does this mean that Israel may not repent! Indeed just such repentance is predicted in Ezekiel 36-39, Zechariah 12 and Romans 11 in large measure, as is the desolation of the desolators, who seem in anti-Semitic riot to be invading even the counsels of this our own land, Australia. Take heed therefore! Be not highminded as Paul challenges in Romans 11:20.
Rather seek the Lord with such a permanent and biblical alliance that NOTHING will seduce your spirit, enslave your soul or mar your body. Let YOUR arrow of desire seek and find the grace of the Lord, HIS arrow of retribution in His own self (I Peter 2:22-25), secure your soul and mouth. There is no replacement for redemption, nor alternative to abiding in Him and no future for revolt (Matthew 20:28, John 6:50ff., Matthew 22:1-14, Psalm 30:5-12). As revolt is revolting, so HIS grace and the holiness of His face is charming; and in His favour is life, even life eternal.
Consider moreover the sense of 'love' in the rebuke by the prophet Jehu, to Jehoshaphat, king though he was (II Chronicles 19).. To 'love' the wicked in this case meant to foster their enterprises, to co-father their aspirations, to join them in their seekings and to find in their company a common cause.
That is a form of 'love', a kind of kinship and comradeship, so that you see as they see, act as they act, while they are threatening your project with doom because of their false vision; and there you find plenty of false prophets, misled leaders, who so act, as they did with Ahab's 400 professional religious officers (or false prophets). These are like the United Nations and the World Council of Churches, and those 'churches' which make their own rules and invent other christs by their own 'leadings', acting with another spirit (as in Galatians 1).
Remember Elisha speaking to the joint battle, later, of Jehoshaphat and Ahab's son, King Jehoram of Israel. If Jehoshaphat were not here, I would not see you! That was his impressive denunciation. Alas, this form of 'love' is a miscreancy, a love of evil which does not despise the flesh and seek for the deliverance of the spirit lost within it! Its indulgence is rather a hatred of what is good!
In II Kings 3, we find that once again, the King of Judah was with company he should shun, and though he was once again delivered, this time by another spectacular miracle, he muddied the pitch and put feet of clay on the ground. Land was not made for that, and man was not made for muddle, but for the service of one Master, one Lord, in one faith, not some concoction, some religious cocktail, made from the otupourings of diligent spiritual deviants, aggressively abreast with the latest spiritual inventions.
God, we read in Psalm 99:8,"took vengeance on their inventions." For me and for my house, the truth, the Lord, the Bible, the Christ of God, the crucified Saviour, His commands, resurrection in very body to life, and His company suffice (cf. Psalm 17:15). In Him, is "all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form." Brethren, let us pray for those who are tempted to acquiesce in our land and abroad, with synthetic spirituality and new bibles made from old philosophies and new lusts, to make of man a mechanism for control, not by God, but by deception: and remember this, that children learning, are being systematically misled by their elders, as these storms rage.
As truth is smitten, so was Christ, its original declaration and eternal Word, smitten. As He was resurrected, so is it, and BECAUSE the God of truth is Almighty, so is it, not as if a proposition had eternal life in itself, but because Christ who does (John 5:26, 8:58, I John 1:1-4), has uttered it, and underwritten it, not only in its biblical Declaration (Matthew 5:127ff., Revelation 22, John 14:26), but with His life. Indeed, just as the crucifixion yielded but more power, in that the limitations of flesh were finished, so does the battle that now rages find for itself, sharers of the doom of the lie (Revelation 19:19ff.). Let us then triumph in the truth which has neither end nor contrivance, but like light itself, declares itself. This light cannot be diverted; and this truth from eternity to eternity, though smitten, is sovereign and does not lie (John 14:6, I John 2:22).