Standing up for God’s word is hard to do

Standing up for God’s word is hard to do

In 1 Kings 22, King Ahab had a decision to make. The king of Syria had promised to return a series of cities to him, and after three years one key city had not been returned to Israelite rule. Should he ignore this breach or go to battle over it? He sought advice from four hundred false prophets, who all told him to go into battle. They were convincing, with Biblical imagery, enthusiasm and unity. When asked to seek the word of a real prophet, Ahab reluctantly sent for a man named Micaiah.

We don’t know anything about Micaiah before or after this episode, but imagine the scene he was called into. The messenger who brought him before Ahab told him that he should agree with the false prophets if he knew what was good for him. When Micaiah entered the room, there were two kings in all their finery and four hundred prophets all saying that Ahab would be victorious if he went to battle. There was so much pressure to agree.

Yet Micaiah spoke what God told him to. He did tell Ahab to go into battle, but told him that he would lose and he would die. This message came at a cost. He was sent to prison on meagre rations. He was struck in the face by one of the false prophets. And his message was disregarded, even though it came true. Micaiah is a wonderful picture of what faithfulness in a difficult circumstance looks like.

1 Kings is full of these kinds of situations. Elijah was up against all the prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel in chapter 18. The unnamed man of God spoke against Jeroboam at a formal ceremony in chapter 13. In each case, those holding the truth were mocked, were in the minority, and holding to God’s word came at a cost.

I think many of us can relate. Just try telling someone you are a Christian. At best, you might get polite questions. At worst, people look at you like you have two heads. Or say that you hold to sex being limited to marriage, or that God created the world, and people will think you walked out of the middle ages rather than living in modern society. I have heard of children at a high school mocking a classmate who had a Bible with him. Christians are not popular.

Yet truth is not decided by popularity. You can be right and the majority can be wrong, like Micaiah was. It’s a hard place to stand. No-one wants to be David vs Goliath, even when we are convinced that David will win in the end.

When you feel the weight of numbers against you and the hostility of culture, remember that you are not the first one to go through this. The prophets in 1 Kings, the disciples in the Roman Empire, and countless other believers have been in this position.

And remember that you are not alone now. I know it feels like it when your school or workplace is so hostile. It feels like it when you are the only Christian in your family. It is at these times you need to remember you are part of a church family. Meeting together reminds us that there are others like us. We are not the only ones who believe what the Bible says and try to live it out. God has been kind to maintain a remnant like He always has.

Don’t measure truth by popularity. There were times when the vast majority of the culture were convinced that the sun revolved around the earth, or that bleeding people with leeches cured all kinds of diseases. If you are a Christian, there is a great deal of evidence that backs up what you believe. We have the Word of God that is true in all cultures. We have historical evidence that backs up what the Bible says. And we have the Holy Spirit that encourages us in our weaknesses and points us to Jesus.

Stand firm. There are good reasons to trust what the Bible says.