When Ahab (the evil king of Israel) invited Jehoshaphat (the righteous king of Judah) to be his ally in his fight against Ramoth Gilead, Jehoshaphat insisted on consulting God to know His mind before going to the battle.
What a wise decision!
2 Chronicles 18:1-5 – NKJV
1 Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance; and by marriage he allied himself with Ahab.
2 After some years he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria; and Ahab killed sheep and oxen in abundance for him and the people who were with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth Gilead.
3 So Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” And he answered him, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war.”
4 And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire for the word of the LORD today.”
5 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.”
Although four hundred prophets of Ahab saw and prophesied victory for the kings in the battle, and even one of them demonstrated with horns of iron how they would gore and destroy their enemies in the battle, yet Jehoshaphat was not fully persuaded in his heart.
What a discerning heart!
2 Chronicles 18:6-8 – NKJV
6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?”
7 So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say such things!”
8 Then the king of Israel called one of his officers and said, “Bring Micaiah the son of Imla quickly!”
Like Jehoshaphat, you also must be careful today not to hurriedly act upon any vision or prophecy from any prophet without being fully persuaded in your heart by the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the genuineness of the vision or prophecy in your heart.
On the insistence of Jehoshaphat another prophet of God, Micaiah, was brought before the two kings to prophesy. But contrary to the prophecies and assurances of victory that the first four hundred prophets had given the kings, Micaiah prophesied defeat and death of the king of Israel in the battle.
2 Chronicles 18: 12-17 – NKJV
12 Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, “Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Therefore please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.”
13 And Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.”
14 Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” And he said, “Go and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand!”
15 So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?”
16 Then he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.'”
17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?
As expected, Micaiah’s voice and prophecy stood no chance among four hundred contrary voices and prophecies. Not only was Micaiah’s prophecy despised and discarded, he also received a dirty slap from one of the prophets.
He was also thrown into the prison to be fed with the bread of affliction and given the water of affliction to drink. But eventually Micaiah’s prophecy was the one which came to pass. The king of Israel died in the battle, all Israel were scattered in the battle and they fled back to their houses (2 Chro. 18:33-34).
It is vital to ask, “Why and how were the four hundred prophets deceived and thus prophesied deceits to the kings?”
In Micaiah’s attempt to buttress his awkward and unpopular prophecy, he revealed why and how the other prophets were deceived.
2 Chronicles 18:18-22 – NKJV
18 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and His left.
19 “And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab king of Israel to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.
20 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’
21 “So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him and also prevail; go out and do so.’
22 “Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.”
From the above divine vision that Micah saw we can deduce the following reasons for the errors or deceits of the four hundred prophets.
First, the four hundred prophets were deceived by a lying spirit because they were Ahab’s prophets:
Ahab’s prophets were vulnerable to a lying spirit because they were sycophants and deceivers. They were deceived because they were not true prophets of God. They were called and chosen by Ahab for his purposes and pleasures.
They were men under his care and authority and thus they had no boldness or courage to tell him the truth, or to rebuke and correct him. All that Ahab’s prophets were hired and paid to do was to prophesy only what Ahab desires, wants or loves to hear (2 Chro. 18:21, 22).
Similarly, when you pay a prophet to prophesy to you, he is bound to prophesy to you only what will excite and gladden your heart. For he who pays the piper dictates the tune!
The Scripture warns that deceivers or liars are vulnerable to deceptions or deceits.
2 Timothy 3:13 – NKJV
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Galatians 6:7 – NKJV
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Second, Ahab’s prophets were deceived to deceive Ahab because Ahab himself detests truth:
Ahab’s prophets knew what Ahab loved and wanted to hear. Therefore, they prepared their mind to prophesy to him what he loved and wanted. The lying spirit simply energized Ahab’s lying prophets to properly package and present the lies Ahab had always loved to hear.
Like Ahab, many people today are being deceived by false prophets simply because they love lies, deceptions, sweet and enticing words of men’s wisdom, and not the truths of God’s Word.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 – NKJV
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Friend, beware of prophets who constantly feed from your tables or pockets, for they would not have the courage to tell you the truth, or to rebuke and correct you when you stray from the path of righteousness.
Like Ahab, when you turn your ears away from the truth, you will only be turned to fables, deceits, lies and flatteries.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 – NKJV
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Friend, we are now in perilous times when seducing and lying spirits are actively at work in the lives and ministries of many professed apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers, thereby energizing them to propagate and broadcast false doctrines and destructive heresies.
This is why they are given to “teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Tit 1:11 NKJV).
Beloved, love and seek for the truths of God’s Word. It is only as you delight in God’s Word and spend time daily to prayerfully meditate in God’s Word that your mind will be renewed and you will be able to discern the lies, deceits, flatteries, sweet and enticing words of sycophants and lying prophets in the world today (Rom. 12:2).
John admonishes you to test the spirits.
1 John 4:1-3 – NKJV
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
Paul also admonishes you to test all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 – NKJV
20 Do not despise prophecies.
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.
It is wisdom to heed these wise admonitions!