That One Man of God
King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah, decided to pay visit to the rebellious, evil King Ahab of Israel (2 Chron 18:2). King Ahab seized the opportunity to test the alliance by proposing a fight with the men of Ramoth-Gilead (2 Chron 18:3), who were Arameans (2 Chron 18:10). Now Yahweh, the God of Israel was with Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 17:3), which means the leader of the southern kingdom was mindful of the Lord (2 Chron 17:6). While agreeing to go to battle, as an ally to his northern neighbor, Jehoshaphat thought it might be prudent to inquire for a word of Yahweh (2 Chron 18:4). King Ahab gathered four hundred prophets, who assured the two kings it was a good plan (2 Chron 18:5–6).
King Jehoshaphat had a discerning spirit, “Is there not yet a prophet of Yahweh here that we may inquire of him (2 Chron 18:6)?” What is the probability that with four hundred prophets, all four hundred would be false prophets? When it came to the illegitimate northern kingdom, the probability was one hundred percent. Evil men desire evil counsel. The four hundred prophets were no more worthy than the four hundred-fifty priests of Baal, summoned by Elijah at Mount Carmel (1 Kgs 18).
Evil King Ahab’s countenance must have fallen at Jehoshaphat’s inquiry, “And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Yahweh, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil. He is Micaiah, son of Imla.’ But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say so.’” One man. Hated. He is Micaiah.
Knowing our hearts are deceitful, wicked, and desperately sick (Jer 17:9), is it any wonder more of us do not hate men who preach the truth? Ahab hated Micaiah. He had reason to hate him, and it is stated, “He never prophesies good concerning me but always evil.” There is always that one man. One man, who refuses to dilute the Word of God. One man, with no sugar-coated commentary.
Abram, was one man chosen by God and justified by faith. Noah, one man, a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5), given the task of salvation for his people in the midst of a wicked world (Gen 6–9). Moses, one man, who walked back into Egypt for the salvation of his people. It is breathtaking to imagine it. John the Baptist was one man. He called out Herod the tetrarch for taking his brother, Herod Philip’s wife for his own. One man, who made one claim, “It is not lawful (Mt 14:4).”
Elijah, the Tishbite, was one man. He was a contemporary of Micaiah. Elijah stood against Baal and four hundred-fifty men. What is the definition of “underdog” if that isn’t it? Jesus Christ, one man, who stood on trial before wicked men, and one man who took upon Himself the curse of the Law for the salvation of His people.
Men love big things. They love big armies, big corporations, big government, big stadiums, big conferences, big money, big power, big names, big games, big influence, etc. If we learn anything from the Bible about God working His plan, it is the doctrine of “one man.” One man is part of the doctrine of the remnant. It is the extreme version of God in the small things. Men’s ways are big, but God’s ways are small. Man even talks about the size of his god, who he has never seen. He tells us, “He is big.” You can hear the ignorant pontificator, “It was of biblical proportion!” Clearly, he has never read the Bible.
David was one man against one giant, who even had the benefit of an armor bearer (1 Sam 17:41). Stephen was one man who stood and told it like it was in truth (Acts 7). When the mantle was passed from the prophet Elijah, it passed to one man, Elisha.
In an age of groups doing group think in conference, even in the name of the Lord, it is amazing to actually read the Bible. The contrast is always so stark. Micaiah received his summons from the two kings, Jehoshaphat and Ahab. The messenger sent to retrieve Micaiah told the man of God that everyone stood in agreement: the two kings; the four hundred prophets, “So please let your word be like one of them and speak favorably (2 Chron 18:12).” The bell boy tells the prophet of God to get in line with company policy. My dear reader, you must know this is not what prophets do.
False prophets are men pleasers. They are company men. Dare we say it, “team players.” They want everyone to be happy no matter the compromise. The false man of God sees everything as relative, and even what is relevant is relative. Ecumenists are ever clamoring for unity, but truth means nothing to them. The gathering of nations under antichrist is a great ecumenical feat. The whole world finds common ground and all the people rejoice. Beware of the big gathering until you are summoned to the one in heaven.
Where is truth? Pontius Pilate was so baffled, he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Men of the world incessantly claim to be making the world a better place, but they do not even understand the world is evil, and every improvement is contributing to make things worse.
Church men want a big, visible church. They love statistics: Christians = 2 Billion; Muslims = 1 Billion; Hindus = 900,000; etc. They write books, “The Church is Bigger than You Think.” They want their champion to wear a big hat, carry a big scepter, and sit on a big throne in a big palace. Jehoshaphat and Ahab wanted a big battle, a big win for themselves and their kingdoms. They wanted big glory for themselves, and they wanted God to approve their big plans. There is no new thing under the sun (Eccl 1:9).
Micaiah must have laughed at the bell boy’s proposition. Here is the party line. Do not be a troubler of Israel, Micaiah! This is the way everybody is doing it. We must be intentional, missional, and relevant to achieve momentum for the plans we have made for ourselves against the Arameans. Micaiah agreed. Wait a minute. What?
As the man of God stood as counsel for the two kings, he said, “Go up and succeed for they will be given into your hand (2 Chron 18:14).” Yes! The party line! The ink in one’s Bible reveals nothing of the emotion in the throne room at Samaria. What was Micaiah’s tone? Try reading his words in a monotone, as if reading some script written for him to read. What was His volume? His conviction? We have no idea. One thing we do know is evil King Ahab saw right through the prophet’s ruse (2 Chron 18:15). Is it right for a prophet of God to lie to evil men?
We might presume Micaiah lied to Ahab to make a point. Prophets have a way of making their point (see Jeremiah’s ox yoke; Isaiah’s three-year stint as the naked prophet (Is 20:2–3); John the Baptist’s fashion accessories; etc.). Ahab got the true message from the true prophet. What was the message? If Micaiah’s non-verbal cues could speak, it might sound like this, “Evil King Ahab, you are living a lie. You just had four hundred men lie to you, and you loved it. My eyes, my tone, and my demeanor will speak the truth, which you hate, even as my words tell you what you want to hear. You are the king. Your will be done. I am your company man. You always wanted me to be on your team. So, there you go. Go for it.”
Sinful men want affirmation. Approve me, approve me, approve me is what men want for themselves. They want to be accepted into the Ivy League. They will kill their neighbor’s teenage daughter, so their daughter can be on the cheerleading team. Men are diabolical. They are ever devising evil plots, even as their fathers did before them. They are of their father, the devil, both the moralist and the anarchist alike.
“Then the king said to him, ‘How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh (2 Chron 18:15)?’” Why do evil men, who lie through their teeth, demand the truth from others? Not even evil men want to be lied to, except if the truth is only evil concerning them. What a conundrum! “Don’t you lie to me, prophet!” says the king. “Ok, here is the truth,” says the prophet. “See, only evil all the time!” says the king (2 Chron 18:17). “The truth is: you will lie with your fathers!” says the prophet.
Zedekiah, the son of Cheenah, like the soldier standing near Jesus on trial, struck the solitary figure speaking truth. One man. Truth…and always the same consequences: punish the prophet! Apparently, pastor appreciation month had not yet been invented in Samaria. Now if a prophet claims to be speaking the Word of God, it only makes it worse. The retort to, “Thus says the Lord,” is “and who made you a prophet?” His opponents hate the message, and it drives them to want to hurt the messenger.
Jesus said, “They will cast you out of the synagogue,” and, “They will kill you, thinking they are serving God.” Jeremiah was thrown in a cistern and left for dead. Herodias said, “Bring me the head of John the Baptist on a charger.” Daniel spent the night in the lion’s den. Isaiah felt the saw blade on his back. Polycarp was thrown to the lions. Micaiah was thrown in prison (2 Chron 18:26).
The faith of God’s people has, at crucial times, rested on the action of one man. Martin Luther said, “Here I stand.” The man of God is often the sole voice crying in the wilderness or in the palace. Ahab and the other nineteen kings of the northern kingdom had no interest in the will and the word of the Lord. Only eight of the twenty kings in the south gave any heed at all to the prophets of God. The blind lead the blind into the ditch. Israel played the harlot by their spiritual idolatry. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians and warned them not to follow Israel’s example (1 Cor 10). Even then, they wondered who made him apostolic material. Individuals, groups, and even nations can lose their way. One man calls for repentance.
Who are you listening to? Have your ears been tickled, lately? Is the message you hear appealing to the world and the culture around you? Have you heard of sin? What do you know of the Cross? Is their blood in the proclamation? Have you been warned of fiery hell?
Wide is the way and broad is the theology that leads to destruction. Praise God for Micaiah, and the other “one man” examples in Scripture and throughout church history. Where would the doctrine of Christ and the Trinity be without Athanasius? The Godhead asked, “Who will go for us?” One man said, “Here am I, send me (Is 6).” With all of the good examples provided of this “one man” doctrine, we must always remember Jesus Christ, the righteous One.
Jesus Christ is the one man, who is the Savior (Tit 2:13). There is only one name, for one Lord, who is the Son of man and only begotten Son of God. All of the good examples, including Micaiah, ultimately stood for Jesus Christ. It is what men of God do. They proclaim Him (1 Cor 2:2; Col 1:28).
In all of the world there is only a remnant who truly believe in Jesus Christ (Rom 11:5). Show me a genuine believer, and somewhere is that Christian’s “one man.” He is the faithful witness, a bruised reed for sure, but a bold preacher, nonetheless. He is a man on fire, like John Hus. He may have a love for a city, like John Calvin, or the love for his countrymen, like John Knox, but he will always be known first for his love of the truth. Prophets, who fit what we have been saying here, never seem to garner the description, “loveable.” That is because the world’s definition of love and God’s definition of love are so diametrically different. We call our one man, “intransigent.” God calls him, “faithful slave.”
We have learned the story of the prophet Micaiah. One man, who stood firm on the foundation of truth, in the face of namby-pamby men of the world, who refused to believe the counsel of God’s Word. An Aramean arrow found the chink in Ahab’s armor, and he died in his ill-conceived battle. Jehoshaphat miched back to Jerusalem with his tail between his legs. As for Michaiah, although he eventually slept with his fathers in the grave, he still speaks to us, as one man, who stood and spoke for God. Are you that man?
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 1, 2021