Did you know that not everyone likes everything I have to say? I know that is shocking, but it is true. I have found in ministry that there will be times when I’m called to preach a particular topic that I know in advance will not be popular. Sometimes students don’t like everything I teach. Sometimes adults get upset with what I teach. It’s par for the course. This most commonly happens when the subject matter is more charged or sensitive, perhaps difficult and/or countercultural. Some days you just know you’re not going to make everyone happy. I don’t intentionally say things to make people unhappy, but I’m willing to teach what the Bible says regardless of how it might make someone else feel.
I just finished 1 Kings last night. Throughout 1 Kings, you pick up a pattern of Israel’s kings not following after God, choosing rather to listen to false prophets and worship false gods. God’s prophets were often instructed to deliver bad news to the kings as a result of their sin. These conversations tended to be awkward and not welcomed. In 1 Kings 22, King Ahab wants to take back a city that had previously belonged to Israel. He consulted many false prophets of false gods regarding his plan, and they all readily agreed with him. King Jehosaphat shared his concern that a prophet of the one true God had not been consulted, so Ahab relented and sent for Micaiah. When Ahab’s messenger reached Micaiah, this was there exchange in 1 Kings 22:12-14 (NLT):
Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.” But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.”
Micaiah was not swayed by the request of the messenger. He was not swayed to tickle the ears of the king to make him happy and avoid his wrath. He wasn’t going to compromise, knowing that speaking the truth to the king could get him killed like many prophets before him. He was only going to say what God told him to say. He would only speak the truth.
I think this is an important lesson for us as Christians. Humans have a long history of not liking what God has to say and of going against Him. Even people who believe in and worship God have disagreed with Him, but our disagreements do not change His truth. It is important for the Christian to stand firmly on what God says, not dispute with Him when what He says goes against how we feel, and communicate what He says without watering it down to avoid conflict. Sometimes God will put someone in your path who needs to hear His truth, and we can’t shy away from it just because it may make us uncomfortable. People will want us to agree with them. They may denigrate us when we do not. They may want to silence us. But we cannot let fear of disproval from people cause us to be swayed from the truth of the Bible.
Don’t be swayed. Don’t compromise. Only say was the Lord has said.