Today’s readings.. (1 kings 22), (Jeremiah 49), (1 Corinthians 8), (1 corinthians 9)

In the last chapter of 1 Kings today, is about prophets, human prophets.   The kings of the northern kingdom of Israel gathered a lot of – what we might describe by the modern phrase  – “hangers on”!  Such always aim to be optimistic about the future and tell the king of their optimism – the king called them “prophets.”
It is not that different today – industry and Governments have a host of “advisers” who plot and forecast future trends. Virtually all of these modern ‘prophets’ came horribly unstuck in the world’s financial disaster of 2008/9 – they are far more cautious now!
Our Kings chapter is about Ahab’s large team of adviser-prophets.  He asked them, “about four hundred men … ‘shall I go to battle … or shall I refrain?  And they all said, ‘Go up for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king’ “ [v.6]  But Ahab was being supported on this occasion by his cousin, King Jehoshaphat of Judah and he asks if “there is a prophet of the LORD of whom we may enquire” [v.7]  We notice he calls God YAHWEH, for whenever the text has LORD in capitals, that is the Hebrew word.
Ahab admits there is such a prophet, “but I hate him for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” [v.8]  The prophet Micaiah is brought before the king and tells him, “the LORD has put a lying spirit in all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you.” [v.23]   A brave man – and he gets put in prison (v.27).  Today those who expound God’s prophesies get ignored and it’s message of coming “disaster.”!  Of course, the fact that some have used their own faulty wisdom in elaborating on God’s word has been a factor in causing this.  But we turn our back on God’s actual prophecies at our peril – and this is what Ahab did.  He got killed, despite disguising himself for the battle (v.30, 37) and what Elijah had prophesied about his end came to pass. (ch. 21v.19).
To use Paul’s word which we read today, he was “disqualified” – he lost the race (of life) as has happened to some Olympians in their kind of race.  Paul says of Olympians, “They do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” He then writes, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” [1 Cor. 9 v.25,27] Let us chose carefully what we “hate” and what we “love” – then we will never be disqualified.

 

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