We all like to hear things that make us feel good, right? Few want news or advice that dampens our day even though it might be for our best. King Ahab of Israel was no different.
Ahab had proposed partnership with King Jehoshaphat of Judah to do battle. Jehoshaphat agreed but added, “First let’s find out what the LORD says.” So Ahab called for 400 prophets and asked their advice. “Should we go to battle or not?” he said. The prophets all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! The Lord will give the king victory.” That’s the answer he wanted to hear. (1 Kings 22:1-28)
But Jehoshaphat of Judah wasn’t convinced. “Is there not also a prophet of the LORD here? We should ask him the same questions.”
Ahab gave a classic response. “There is one more man who could consult the LORD for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.”
Ahab would make an interesting study in human psychology. He was willing to take advice that tickled his ears even though it ultimately led to his defeat and death. Anyone with insight could have told him that he’d fare better by listening to the counsel of someone who spoke truth. He may not have wanted to hear the words spoken by the prophet of the Lord, but listening to them instead of the stuff that made him feel good could have spared him a lot of grief.
I can understand Ahab’s attitude because I’ve struggled with it, too. Especially as a teenager. People looking out for my best warned me about dating unbelievers but I didn’t want to listen. Instead, I sought affirmation for those relationships from peers who saw nothing wrong with them.
The longer I live, the more I recognize the value of godly advice – even when it’s contrary to what I want to hear. I might need time to digest and appreciate counsel given, but when it’s truly from the Lord, it’s imperative that I listen.
Can you relate? Have you ever found yourself in a situation that could have been avoided if you’d listened to tough advice?