Wednesday, July 3, 2024

God Speaks Truth

We all say that we want someone who will tell us the truth, but the truth is...we don't really like the truth. We don't like being told when we've messed up or when we don't have our facts straight or when we were just plain wrong. We don't like being shown our rough (or sometimes, sharp) edges, and the moment that most of us are told the truth, we immediately come up with all kinds of plausible explanations (excuses) why that's not really the truth. 

The truth is that most of us would rather have someone who tells us what we want to hear. 

We hear this a lot when there starts to be a cultural shift in the church, for better or for worse. One side, if not both, accuse the other of have abandoning truth and preaching "only what everyone wants to hear." Then, we start to argue about whether God is really about truth or whether He's about love, and how can truth and love co-exist? 

It's been a problem since as far back as at least the New Testament, when we are told that persons were looking for someone not to tell them the truth, but to tell them what they wanted to hear. In fact, I'd say it's a problem we've had as a human species as far back as at least Judges, when we are told that "everyone did what was right in his own eyes." In other words, there was no one around to speak truth...or no one who was given the authority to speak truth. 

God, on the other hand, has always been a truth teller. Whether we've wanted to hear it or not. 

One of the more fun stories in which to see this is the story of Ahab and Micaiah in 2 Chronicles 18. Micaiah is a prophet of the Lord; Ahab is the (wicked) king of Israel. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, has come to help Ahab in battle, but he wants to hear from a prophet first. 

So Ahab calls together his royal prophets, the guys he's surrounded himself with, but they are basically just yes-men. They are guys who tell him what he wants to hear, no matter what it is. Jehoshaphat recognizes immediately that these men are speaking for Ahab and not for the Lord, so he asks if there's any man of God they can talk to, and Ahab says, "Yeah, there's one, but I don't like him. He never tells me what I want to hear." 

They call Micaiah anyway. When pressed to speak what God really says, the prophet does not hold back. 

Then Ahab is like, "See? I told you." 

God always speaks the truth. 

He could have told Ahab what he wanted to hear, but it wouldn't have been the truth. He could have agreed with all of the yes-men, but it wouldn't have come to pass. He could have given lip service, but He would have been found a liar and a fraud - and those are things that God can never be. Not if He still claims to be God. 

But this is good news. It's good news because it assures us that what we hear from God is true. Always has been, always will be. Whether it's what we want to hear or not. 

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