At the time I (Bill) was writing 7 Simple Skills for Every Man, I had…
1 Kings 22
What you don’t want to hear will save your life. King Ahab of Israel had a very important question to answer, “Shall I go into battle against Ramoth Gilead?” It was a critical decision with critical timing. The land technically belonged to Israel but it was under the control of another nation. At some point in history, it would be time for Israel to reacquire this part of their kingdom. The King asked 400 prophets for their insight and they all said, “Go, for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” (v. 6) These 400 spokesmen, however, were simply feeding Ahab’s ego. They were telling him what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear.
There was only one man who had the courage to tell Ahab what he didn’t want to hear. “So now the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.” (v. 23) The implication is clear. If you go into battle, you will experience calamity. If you wait until God calls you into battle, you will be safe and successful.
I am no king so I am not faced with such dramatic decisions but I face plenty of options that force me to ask, “Do I really want to hear this?”
“Husbands, love you wives as Christ loved the church . . . nourish and cherish her.”
“Live with your wives in an understanding way.”
“In everything give thanks.”
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children.”
“Serve one another in love.”
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently.”
“Forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Intellectually, I agree with all these calls to action but there are plenty of days when I just don’t want to hear it. I would rather run with my own agenda, look out for my own needs and push forward rather than patiently hold back. And yet, I am aware that the hard sayings are exactly what will help me the most today. Jesus, give me ears to hear what is true and give me the willingness to act on what I don’t want to hear when it is the right thing to do.