Have you ever felt like you're the lone voice speaking up for truth? How can you be confident you're right when hundreds of other voices oppose you? Today's Old Testament reading from 1 Kings 22 contains an interesting example of just such confidence and faithfulness. As King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat were plotting together to go to war against Ramoth-gilead, they decided to ask the prophets if the Lord would bless their attempts in battle. An astounding number of four hundred prophets said God would give them victory (v.5), but one lonely prophet, Micaiah son of Imlah, dared to contradict them. Micaiah prefaced his rebuttal of the other prophets by saying, "As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak" (v. 14). Then Micaiah proceeded to prophesy that a lying spirit had deluded the other prophets (v.23), and that Ahab would die in battle and his men would be scattered (v.17). A short while later, Micaiah was proven right (vv. 35-36).
Speaking truth publicly requires courage and confidence. Thankfully, Micaiah also shows us where we can find such courage and confidence. When the false prophet Zedekiah challenged Micaiah, saying, “Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?” (v. 24, The Message), Micaiah responded cryptically: "You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber” (1 Kings 22:25). This expression has a double meaning. On the one hand, Micaiah was predicting a day when Zedekiah would hide from his attackers. On the other hand, Micaiah was exposing Zedekiah's lack of prayerful attentiveness to God. The word for "inner chamber" that's used here in the Greek version of the Old Testament is the same word Jesus uses in Matthew 6:6, saying, "When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you" (NASB). The "inner chamber" is the place of prayer where we listen to the Lord's voice in secret. Why had Zedekiah not heard what the Holy Spirit had revealed to Micaiah? Because Zedekiah had not yet gone to pray in the inner chamber. Micaiah, on the other hand, could confidently say that he would only speak what the Lord commanded because he had listened for the Lord's voice in solitude, rather than following the crowd.
When we seek God in prayer, our Father who sees what is done in secret rewards us with guidance and discernment. It's in the inner rooms of solitude, silence, and prayer that we can find courage to stand against the crowd for the sake of faithfulness, righteousness, and justice. May the Lord grant us the boldness, confidence, and prayerfulness of the prophet Micaiah today.
Grace and Peace,