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01 August 2009

The Difference Between a Hearer and a Doer

Gotta love these short daily studies from InterVarsity Press. Today's was called "Deaf to God". You'll need to read the entire chapter of 1 Kings 22. Here's the opening paragraph of today's study:

WE EACH HAVE our own methods of tuning out God. For example, singing an entire hymn without a single word registering in the mind; meticulously compiling a things-to-do list during the sermon; accidentally leaving a Bible at church and not missing it for days; feeling no compunction about a pattern of daily prayer long since abandoned and hardly remembered. There are many paths by which we can become deaf to God. Ahab's life (and death) warns us against such a route.

The Scripture tells the story of Ahab's death; how he wants to go to war with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to reclaim land that was once theirs. They consult Ahab's stable of prophets, who all promise victory. Jehoshaphat then saya, "Hey, why don't we get a prophet of the Lord in here?" Ahab doesn't even want to bother hearing what this lone prophet of God, Micaiah, will say because he knows it will be bad news.

They call him anyhow, and on the way the messenger advises Micaiah to be a team player; to agree with what the rest of the king's prophets have said. Happy to be the non-conformist, Micaiah replies that he's only going to say what the Lord tells him to say.

Micaiah is funny. He's over the top in his nerve, obviously because he knows God has his back, and even if not, he's willing to risk imprisonment or death to say what God wants him to say. He sarcastically delivers his lines to the king of Israel, "Go for it! You're a winner!" Ahab, apparently having some clue to the truth, tells him, "How many times do I have to tell you to shoot straight with me?!"

In the end Micaiah tells Ahab to do it at his own peril, because the Lord says he'll die in the process.

Ahab heard it, knew it was coming from God, and did his own thing anyhow, leaving us an extreme example of being a hearer of the Word but not a doer. One of the wrap-up questions of the daily study is, "During the course of his life, Ahab had many opportunities for hearing truths from God. In view of this, what do you see as the difference between hearing and receiving God's Word?"

The two main things I get from this:

  1. Sometimes being a team player isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  2. Apparently God takes this "obey Me" thing seriously.

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