Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Tuesday, 10 March 2009


By Jim Jordal

Second Chronicles 18 records the account of king Jehoshaphat of Judah, a good king, but unfortunately allied through marriage with wicked king Ahab of Israel (yes, he’s the husband of Jezebel). On this occasion Ahab attempted to persuade Jehoshaphat to join him in battle against Syrians now in possession of the trans-Jordan town of Ramoth Gilead. Before Jehoshaphat would agree, however, he asked Ahab to gather advice from his 400 prophets, who unanimously predicted victory for the allied kings. But Jehoshaphat—probably suspicious of the source of wisdom purveyed by prophets serving an evil king—asked if by chance there might be a prophet of the Lord present, so they could ask of him. Ahab replied, "There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil."

That one remaining true prophet of the Lord was Micaiah, son of Imla. The messenger sent to fetch him revealed to Micaiah what was expected: "Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Therefore please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement."

Imagine if you will the pressure upon Micaiah to accede to the request that he reinforce what the other 400 prophets had said. In modern language the message would be something like this: " Just go along. After all, 400 prominent prophets can’t be wrong. Just be reasonable and agree. Then Ahab will be happy and you will earn his favor."

But Micaiah showed he was made of sterner stuff when He replied: "As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak." At first Micaiah played along as he told Ahab, "Go and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand." But Ahab didn’t believe this advice since it must have been one of the few times Micaiah ever agreed with him. So Ahab said, "How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?"

So Micaiah finally revealed God’s truth concerning Ahab and his future—and it was not victory, but defeat and death for Ahab.

So what about today? Is there a lesson for us in what happened 3,000 years ago? Is the apostle Paul correct when he instructs us that "all these things happened to them [the patriarchs and people of the Old Testament] as examples, and they were written for our admonition…" (I Cor. 10:11). I happen to think that the political and economic principles revealed by these Old Testament examples are not only valuable in their historical context, but also extremely relevant to modern society. We willfully ignore them at our peril.

Today we have prophets of every kind—religious, political, economic, social—suggesting that the answer to our economic malaise lies in "returning to Egypt." In other words, we need to become willing to take on ever-increasing debt slavery so as to restore prosperity and growth to our economy. So taking on more debt and accepting swelling compound interest payments become the avenue to success for individuals, business, and government.

Biblical civil administrator Nehemiah reported rather eloquently on the uproar of Jewish debtors against the moneylenders of his time. During a time of famine and scarcity the common people had evidently borrowed heavily to buy food and pay taxes on their farmsteads. Due to the debt load and the inability to pay their debts during hard times, many people complained that even their children were brought into the slavery of indentured servitude. Not only that, but the debtors could not earn money to pay their debts because, as they said, "other men have our lands and vineyards." Today it would translate into the cry, "We be cannot pay our mortgages because other men have our jobs due to offshoring, or because our jobs have been eliminated to save money."

Nehemiah responded to their plight by ordering restoration of their lands, vineyards, and houses that had been foreclosed for debt, as well as a portion of the funds they had paid to the money powers.

So don’t subscribe to the "party line" proposed by the modern 400 prophets. Consider that what they ask us to do is unjust in that it brings future generations into economic servitude and is absolutely unsustainable because of the pressure placed by rampant growth and consumption upon natural systems and people.

Not all prophets speak truth. Don’t forget it!