Thursday, March 27, 2014

He Never Prophesies Anything But Trouble For Me
1 Kings 22:7-8(NLT) 7But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the LORD here? We should ask him the same question.”  
8The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the LORD for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.”  Jehoshaphat replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.”

     This drama from the book of 1 Kings depicts two kings with different values and governing styles. It is a very rare instance of cooperation between the kings of Israel and Judah. And the decision making process of these two men, Ahab, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, show why these two kingdoms had such a hard time getting along. Jehoshaphat wants to consult the Lord (by consulting a prophet) because he believes that knowing the will of God is vital to making a decision. Ahab, on the other hand seems to suspect that consulting this prophet will result in trouble and doesn't want to hear what he has to say, as if ignoring his counsel would result in a good outcome.
     One of the most difficult things for a leader to do, whether they are a father or mother, business owner, department head, pastor or congressman, is solicit opinions that are contrary to his own. It's not easy to lead people, even under the most ideal circumstances, but especially when they don't agree with you, when they know (or think they know) more than you, when they don't see things the way you do.
     Some leaders mistakenly believe that contrary opinions should be silenced or discredited, as if the "peace" that results is desirable. But often for a leader, silence isn't golden and it doesn't signify agreement, it is a sign of deafness.
     The more powerful a leader, the higher his profile, the more likely he is to trust his own judgment and less likely to value the opinions of those who are less powerful or influential. The more difficult the decisions, the more high level subordinates with opposing views can appear to be enemies instead of sources of good information and strategy. If a subordinate believes that disagreeing with a leader's viewpoint may be seen as insubordination, they are very likely to keep their opinions to themselves, even when their views are informed by solid evidence or experience.   
     To make good decisions, leaders nust have as much up to date, pertinent information as possible. Often that means intentionally seeking out opinions that are or may be opposed to his own opinions. He has to make the effort to get people to talk to him to say things he may not want to hear.
     God's will can sometimes seem difficult and troublesome, but ignoring it doesn't change anything. God can use anyone who is willing to hear the unvarnished truth and act on it. Many of the most well known characters in the Bible were powerless in themselves, but armed with the truth and a willingness to courageously act on it, they prevailed despite their lack of stature.
     Who has the right to speak the truth to you? If the people who have a right to speak into your life, to influence your decisions don't include some who seem to prophecy trouble, maybe they have been silenced or ignored, or worse, maybe you as a leader have become deaf to an opinion that might be your salvation.