God Doesn’t Play Fair

There’s an amazing passage in 1 Kings 22. First. let me set up a little background.

Ahab was an evil king who ruled Israel, where the northern 10 tribes of the Jews resided. Jehoshaphat was king over the tribes in the southern part of the land called Judah. Ahab called on Jehoshaphat to go into battle with him against the Syrians.

Ahab called 400 prophets together to give him affirmation as to the outcome of the battle. All said he should go up, and he would be successful. Only one disagreed. That was Micaiah. He was the only one who told the truth.

But let’s take a step back for a bit. Near the end of 1 Kings 21, the prophet Elijah told King Ahab he was going to die, and none of his heirs would rule. Ahab was killed in battle, as described in chapter 22, and the rest of God’s prophecy about his heirs came true later.

Now to the amazing passage. Here’s part of what Micaiah told Ahab, Joshephat and all those gathered together before the battle.

1 Kings 22:19-23–
19. And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
22. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persude him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Isn’t this startling?

God Himself allowed a lying spirit to speak through the majority of the prophets who encouraged Ahab to go into battle. We would assume prophets would be wise and truthful as spokesmen from God, wouldn’t we? But God didn’t have it that way in this instance. He used them to direct Ahab into battle and to his death, as foretold by Elijah.

Think about that. God put a lying spirit into the mouths of those prophets.

Now recall the story of Job. Isn’t it astounding that God allows the devil to have his way with him? We can’t help but wonder why, when Job was such a righteous man.

We think of God as holy, perfect and righteous. And He is. But we have to stand back and realize He doesn’t play by our rules or our conception of Him.

Think of how many times Jesus told parables which, in reality, disguised the truth, except to those disciples He revealed it to.

How many times have you heard someone say, “There are many ways to interpret the Bible” Let’s face it. The Bible can be a confusing book, full of strange stories, seeming contradictions and uncertainties.

Of course, I believe that’s all the more reason we should study it to understand what it really says.

I read a book a number of years ago about the history of church denominations in the U.S. I came away with the impression that every denomination picked a favorite Scripture passage and ran with it to create its own distinctives.

Think of how much lying and false preaching there is out there today. Even the so-called good preachers get things wrong.

How in the world is anybody supposed to get the whole truth of God’s counsel?

The other day an acquaintance e-mailed me with links to articles about how the president is deliberately carrying out deeds that damage America, rather than build it up. He was indignant. I understand where he’s coming from, but I replied that this may be happening because America has forsaken God, and we (collectively) get what we deserve. I don’t like it, and I wish things were different.

I’m sick of this world’s evils. It’s sometimes overwhelming. I try to live a righteous life, but sometimes it all seems so futile.

It’s distressing to me that so much of our present reality is based on fairy tales. For example, nearly everyone believes the government’s official story of 9/11. Our country has gone to war in many places as a result. The war on terror is phony and meant to take away our freedoms and give power to evil elites. But who sees things as they really are?

Yet it seems God would have it this way. This is a prelude to a time when the Holy Spirit will be pulled back from the earth and people will be sent strong delusion. Considering the delusion we’re living under today, I can’t help but wonder how strong that future delusion must be.

But look what the Scriptures say is the reason for this coming delusion, particularly verses 11-12 in the following passage.

2 Thessalonians 2:8-12–
8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

God doesn’t play fair. At least not according to our standards. Perhaps our standards are amiss somewhere, no matter how righteous we think they are. As I’ve heard it said, it’s His universe, and He can do whatever He wishes. And He will because He does things for His glory. That’s not always something we understand or appreciate.

I acknowledge that I must remember what God says in Isaiah 55.

Isaiah 55:8-11–
8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

I admit. I find God’s ways perplexing, and I wish He would straighten out everything right now. But, alas, it isn’t to be until His people are together with Him in Glory. He’ll set all things right, and I believe He’ll explain it all to us. As J. Vernon McGee has said, the Bible will seem like an ABC book when He teaches us.

I can hardly wait. How about you?

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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