“I don’t believe in dividers – I support uniters!” Sounds like a noble sentiment, but what does that even mean? Basically, “I only like people who tell me that I’m just fine!” 2 Timothy 4 teaches about that mentality, how the time will come when “people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.”
Everybody loves an uplifting quote on Facebook or a positive slogan. Here’s a popular one: “The best things come to those who don’t give up.” Logically that would mean an unemployed couch potato should never give up waiting around until a job dropped into his lap, and an abused wife should never leave her cheating husband no matter what. The encouragement of “don’t give up,” only applies if you’re doing the right things. If you’re not, your misery will become a bottomless pit. But who wants to be told they’re not doing the right thing?
Micaiah was a prophet in Israel under King Ahab. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah came to visit, and the two kings discussed how they ought to join forces to fight Syria. Jehoshaphat suggested that they ask God what they should do, so Ahab called up his 400 yes-men to prophesy. And as yes-men do, they all predicted victory and success, which King Jehoshaphat could tell was a pack of lies. Jehoshaphat asked if Ahab had any real prophets of God. Ahab’s response said it all: “There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we can inquire of the Lord. But I hate him because he never prophesies good for me, but always evil.” (1 Kings 22)
Micaiah knew he was expected to regurgitate the happy slogans of the other prophets, but when he finally spoke for God, it was ugly and scary – but it was the truth. Sin and disobedience was rife in Israel and evil King Ahab would die if he went to war. Ahab refused to listen, and God’s word came true, just as Micaiah had said.
The fallacy of today, is that we only want to hear about love and peace, about harmony and unity, about tolerance and acceptance, about sharing and embracing. Just meaningless sound bites. The world around us is infatuated with the “yes-men” of our days who spout off noble words, while anyone who speaks harsh truths is labeled as hateful, and divisive. A day is coming when a pastor who preaches that not all will be saved, that hell is a reality, that demons manifest and possess lives, that the only way to heaven is through salvation in Jesus – will be condemned as divisive and evil. The world is heading in the direction when it will be a crime to speak God’s truths, and that day is coming sooner than we think.
Don’t be discouraged when you speak up for God and His truth and find that you offend or infuriate people. A real servant of God doesn’t go out of his way to offend, but neither does he shy away from the truth, which offends those who are determined to serve the gods of this world. Happy slogans are worthless without the brutal reality of the spiritual battle we are in. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, yet He bought our peace through the shedding of His blood. We have the promise of eternal life, but it comes at the price of the death to our flesh and daily picking up our cross to follow Him. If you find yourself hated because you are the only one in your group of friends that holds onto God’s truth, consider yourself blessed. Truth may be painful, but it leads to life.
Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 2 Timothy 3:12-14 MEV