Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. "Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?" he asked.
Micaiah replied, "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room."
(1 Kings 22:23-25, NIV)
For three years, there was peace between Aram and Israel. For Ahab, that was three years too long. It was his land and today he decided to retake it. Unfortunately, Jehoshaphat, who had no business being there, happened to be in Samaria for the weekend.
"Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?" Ahab asked, tying the destiny of Judah with that of his own empire. They're all family anyway, right? That whole God of Israel thing was overrated.
Jehoshapat looked up from his buffalo wings. Nodded. "I'm down with you. Just one thing though. We need to seek the Lord on this."
There he goes with that. Better get my boys together. "Sure. Call the prophets."
Four hundred scarred men shuffle in, looking suspiciously similar to the ministers of Baal, but who's counting? God is God, right?
"Go," they shouted in a thundering chorus. "The Lord will give it into the king's hand."
Relieved, Ahab waves them off. It was good to be king, to do God's will without living it. "See?"
Jehoshapat dipped a wing in bleu cheese and made a sour face. "Ain't y'all got no, uh, REAL prophets up in here?"
Here we go.
Maybe J-Dog wasn't as stupid as Ahab thought. Well, no, he was that stupid or he wouldn't be here eating buffalo wings instead of worshipping that God of his. What does he think, he's going to change Israel or something? Make Ahab some kind of Jehovah worshipper like him? Please. It's much to late for that. And for the prophecies of fools. "There's one man who we could ask, but I can't stand him. Always hatin' on me, prophesying something bad. Never has one good word to say. Micaiah is his name, Imlah and nem's son."
Jehoshapat licks his fingers. "Don't trip on the prophet, cuz. Let's hear him."
Sure J wanted to hear him. What did he have to fear, besides maybe Ahab himself? Ahab on the other hand, had everything to lose. Everytime that fool came in the court and spouted his prophecies every word came true, making the king look like a fool. Micaiah was the only one still telling Ahab the truth about himself. Worse, sometimes, when the fool was prophesying, Ahab started seeing things, thinking things, wondering if maybe he was jacked up after all. Maybe Jezebel had it wrong--
One of the officials reached out to steady Ahab's quivering shoulders. "Are all right sir? You seem upset."
If only you knew. "I'm fine. Get the prophet."
Micaiah stood at the back of the line of "prophets", staring at the lush purple robes of Ahab and Jehoshapat dragging the floor. This image was the start of the vision that had troubled his sleep, kept him up all night. His head and heart hurt at the sight of the King of Judah.
He's going to get his behind killed if he doesn't leave this fool alone.
But talking sense into Jehoshapat would wait for another day. Today, it was all about Ahab, the man he'd spent his life trying to turn around. For all the evil in that fool, there were times when they both connected, when Micaiah was sure the king had heard him. He could count on a good beating after those times. As he listened to the prophets ahead of him proclaim peace and victory, he knew tonight would be another of those beatings. Probably worse than any before.
Next in line, Zedekiah, son of Kenaanah, stepped to the shofar wearing a hat of iron horns. He paused long enough to roll his eyes in Micaiah's direction. The weary prophet tried not to laugh. Ram's horns again. Micaiah knew immediately what Zedekiah would say,"You'll gore them until they are destroyed." Ahab would love it. They all would.
As Kenaanah said exactly what Micaiah knew he would, the messenger who'd sent for him whispered a warning. "Now look, all these guys are telling the king good things. You do the same."
"I can only tell the king what the Lord tells me." Micaiah's eyes met with Ahab's.
The king of Israel turned away, then steadied his gaze, focused again on Micaiah. "So should we go up or what?"
Tell him what he wants to hear.
"Go for it." He looked over at Zedekiah. "Gore 'em to death and all that."
Ahab hammered a fist into the ivory table beside him. He cut a look toward Jehoshapat before turning back to the prophet. "How many times do I have to tell you, huh? Enough with the games. Tell me what the Lord has shown you."
Micaiah threw back his shoulders, took a few steps toward the throne. "Hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with the host of heaven surrounding Him. They had a little meeting about you, trying to figure out who would get you to attack Ramoth Gilead and die there . . ."
One of Zedekiah's ram's horns crashed to the floor. Micaiah took another step toward the throne. "There were a lot of suggestions, but finally a spirit agreed to entice you."
"How?" Ahab spoke with a trembling voice. He gripped his throne.
"There is a lying spirit in the mouth of all your prophets. The Lord granted the spirit success. He has decreed disaster for you--"
A slap stung across Micaiah's face. Sour breath hissed across the prophet's burning cheek. "Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from ME to speak to you?" The other horn hit the ground. The clang filled the hall, echoing its emptiness, though many souls filled it.
Micaiah stood still. "On the day you run and hide in your closet, you'll find out where the spirit went.
"Take him!," the king ordered. "Send him back to mayor Amnon and prince Joash. Tell them to put him in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely."
Micaiah turned back to the king as the officials drug him away. "If you ever come back safe, the LORD never spoke through me." He paused, then added the warning ringing in his heart. "Mark my words, all you people!"
Lord, thank you for the Micaiah's in my life. Give me the courage to hear them. Give me the courage to continue speaking, writing and living the visions that You give me, even when they threaten the kingdoms of others. Forgive me for the many times I've slapped Your truth away, out of fear and pride. Don't let me join forces with fools. May my ears not itch for what makes me comfortable, but for what is true.
In Jesus' name,