What’s The Use Of Reading And Hearing God’s Word If You’re Not Going To Obey It?
1 Kings 22:3 – And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
1 Kings 22:4 – And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
1 Kings 22:5 – And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
Hello readers, what’s the use of reading God’s word if you’re not going to obey it? Today we are going to see this question played out in 1 Kings 22. It’s an incredible chapter, an incredible story. Jehosphat is going to be our example today. He was such a good king, but he made such a bad mistake. It would’ve cost him his life if God did not miraculously deliver him in this chapter.
It’s best to read this chapter for yourself, because there are so many truths in it relevant to us today, it’s mind boggling. Times are different now, times have changed! No they haven’t and no they ain’t. How could a good king, a wise king, a godly king, get caught up in such a big mess? He played buddy buddy with a wicked man called king Ahab, who was king of the northern kingdom of Israel.
Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to join forced with him to fight the Syrians. They had a common enemy so it made sense to Jehoshaphat. But joining forces with the unsaved and Christ rejecting can never end well. This chapter is going to teach us about the effect of bad unions and bad company for the believer.
So many Christians make excuses and justify themselves and the compromises they make in life based on trying to influence this world. Oh, I drink to relate better to others. Oh, I send my kids to public schools and we are involved in the community to reach them. But does it ever really work out? Lot was trying to be a godly influence in Sodom, and the only person influenced was him, and his family. No sodomites got saved, no sodomites left with Lot.
Watch who you’re throwing your lot in with. They’re going to take you down. Joining forces with Ahab would’ve cost Jehoshaphat his life if not for God’s deliverance. Joining hands with the wrong people in any realm of life can be very costly, and it will be very costly. Although they had a common enemy, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were walking very different roads in life. They had the same objective in view, but one cared about God’s word and one did not.
So Jehoshaphat says to Ahab, sure, I’ll go to battle with you, but lets seek the counsel of God’s word first. That’s pretty good isn’t it. Maybe he shouldn’t have agreed first and then enquired of God’s word next. That’s already getting the order back the front. See, as soon as Jehoshaphat is in Ahab’s company, he’s going to start getting messed up. This world will mess you up. Why do Psalms and Proverbs talk so much about the company you keep, because the way they think and talk and what they do will affect you.
Ahab says, sure, no problem. And he gets all his prophets together, and asks them, should we go up? See, he already knows what these prophets will say. They always say what he wants them to say. He controls them. He owns them. They’re on his payroll. It’s like churches today, they’re paid off. They don’t want to risk their financial and physical security for truth. They don’t want to be unpopular.
All the prophets agree, all four hundred of them. Yes king! Go up, God has delivered the Syrian army into your hand. It just goes to show, consensus does not determine truth. Four hundred “men of God” all in agreeance even though in this chapter Ahab is going to be killed because he listened to these guys! See, all those false prophets, they’re going to get you in hell at the end of it.
Jehoshaphat knows that these guys are fakes. If Jehoshaphat knew how to spot a fake, so should you. Four hundred prophets, and he says … ok, now can we hear from the prophet of the Lord? All these false prophets had been prophesying victory in the name of the Lord… but Jehoshaphat knows they’re not the real deal. See, he wants to hear from God’s word. Not people speaking on behalf of God, in God’s name, who are not giving him God’s word.
And in this is a massive truth. Do not miss this. The prophet of God, and the man telling the truth, is the one who gives you the Bible, the one who tells you what to do and not to do based on the Bible. What was missing in all these prophets was Bible truth. The thing is, it doesn’t matter what you believe or feel or think. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, it doesn’t matter what you are forecasting. What matters is what the Bible says.
Just one problem, Ahab didn’t get the man of God. He wasn’t welcome, because he hates the guy that’s been standing for God’s word. See, Ahab’s been a wicked king, he’s done horrible things, and when the man of God has rebuked him based on God’s word, he’s not wanting to hear from him. Oh, he never says anything nice to me. Oh you’re so hateful, you’re so unloving, you’re so judgmental, you’re so negative blah blah, that’s all you hear nowadays. People hate God’s word, and those who stand on God’s word in their lives, because it convicts and reproves their sin rather than looks the other way on it.
Think Ahab’s prophets ever said anything negative to him? Think they ever said anything to him about the heinous sins he had committed? No, they never said a bad thing to him or about him. They made him feel real good. They made him feel like he could be religious, be spiritual, play church, and also lie, cheat, steal, kill.
Long story short, Ahab reluctantly fetches a guy called Micaiah, a man renowned for telling the truth of God’s word. Do you have that renown? Are you known for the Bible that you stand upon? Are you known for godly counsel? Are you someone that they think of when they want to know what the Bible says on what to do and not do?
I’m trying not to get sidetracked, because there’s so much here. Micaiah has opposition from the government and the religious guys not to say what God’s word says. Sound like today? That net is closing in on anyone who holds to the unpopular truth of God’s word. The first thing a wicked government does is tries to control the preacher of righteousness. Here’s the one guy the king hasn’t been able to put in his pocket. Here’s the one guy the king couldn’t buy out, bribe out or get to sell out. Here’s the one guy he can’t control, manipulate, and manage.
In amongst all this, where’s Jehoshaphat? Well he’s sitting with the king, waiting to hear the counsel of God’s word on what to do. Jehoshaphat can be like you and me. We say we want to know what God’s word says in relation to the decision that are in front of us. But then what? Because Micaiah gets there, tells them what God’s word says… and guess what Jehoshaphat does? He doesn’t actually act upon it! He goes up to battle with Ahab and just about gets himself killed! He wanted to hear God’s word, but when he heard it, he did not obey it!
So… what’s the use of reading God’s word if you’re not going to obey it? Jehoshaphat was wise in wanting the counsel of God’s word in his decision making. Check. Sounds good. Nice one man. That’s good sound thinking. It sounded good too. And he really did want to hear what the Bible said. But somehow, he didn’t obey it. Micaiah had told him that the prophets were liars, that they were gonna get killed going to this battle, God had said don’t fight, GO HOME.
But you know what. Jehoshaphat has been flattered. He feels important. The king needs me to win this battle. He feels chuffed getting all the attention, and having a new friend in Ahab. He’s been swept away in his feelings and emotions and his pride and importance and the moment. And if God doesn’t literally intervene in his life, he’s gonna get destroyed in his stupidity. It’s amazing what causes us to disobey and disregard God’s word. God’s word, so clear for us, yet we do not obey it in our own lives. We say we want to hear God’s word. We say we believe his word. But in our lives, in our actions, in our decisions, we do not obey it.
As Micaiah is being hauled away he says this…
1 Kings 22:28 – “And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.”
1 Kings 22:29 – “So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.”
What are you doing Jehoshaphat? Maybe he thought his joint forces with Ahab meant he didn’t need God in this one. What was he thinking. He was acting so dumb in this. Ahab would further say, look man I’m gonna disguise myself, but you dress up in your king robes. Why did he say that? Because he seemed to believe Micaiah more that Jehoshaphat. This is staggering. He’s saying, let them target you Jehoshaphat. If a king went into battle in king’s robes, you think he was like a magnet to spears and arrows and soldiers seeking personal glory? Everyone knew, you kill the king, you’re a hero!
He’s saying to Jehoshaphat, you take the bullet mate. And Jehoshaphat says, ok! See, once you reject God’s word, you start thinking and acting like an idiot. Nobody is exempt. It sounded good asking to hear God’s word. Hey, let’s see what the Bible says about this decision I need to make in life. But he hears what the Bible says, and ignores it, he doesn’t obey God’s word in his own life. He’s got his reasons, so do you. We all have that “that doesn’t apply to me” mentality. Let it apply to someone else, not me.
So today, what’s the use of reading God’s word if you’re not going to obey it? What’s the use of getting the wise counsel of God’s word, if you’re not going to heed it? He wanted the counsel, the advice, the direction, the guidance, the light of God’s word. He wanted the truth. All good there. But then he went with Ahab anyway. That’s dumb. That’s stupid. And we all are dumb and stupid let’s be honest. We know what’s right, we know what’s wrong, we know what God has said, but we don’t obey it in our own lives. Jehoshaphat had his reasons, so do I and so do you. God mercifully spared him, because he could’ve, should’ve and would’ve died in battle had God not saved him.
Read God’s word and obey it today. It was for his good. It wasn’t as exciting, oh just go home after all this excitement, but it was wisdom, peace, health and life to the hearers. God’s word is for your good reader. Why take the lies over the truth like they did? Ahab was killed in this battle and the dogs licked his blood. Do you really want to end up a dead fool like him? He was told God’s word on end, and disregarded it. And the Christian that was there also started disobeying God’s word because of him. Don’t be like that. Choose life, choose light, choose wisdom… choose the truth of God’s word today.
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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