Doing the Ferengi
On one of the many spin-offs of the original Star Trek series, there appears a race, the Ferengi, that gets extreme pleasure out of having its ears rubbed. I wonder if they ever read Paul’s letter to Timothy? Paul warns his son in the faith, “…the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (I Timothy 4:3, NIV).
Back in the days of King Ahab, human nature wasn’t any different. I Kings 22 records for us the last major incident in Ahab’s life. He had made a pact with Judah’s King Jehosaphat, to fight against Aram.
Before going to battle, Jehosaphat insisted that they consult a man of God to find out what the Lord had to say about all this. Ahab had plenty of “prophets” around him who told him exactly what he wanted to hear—they rubbed his ears—but the King of Judah was not deceived. So they called in Micaiah. Prior to his audience with the kings, Micaiah was told what the other prophets had been saying, a kind of advanced warning system that delivered an underlying threat (22:13). To this Micaiah replied: “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me” (22:14, NIV).
We want to hear what we want to hear, not necessarily what we NEED to hear. We get enough unsettling news in our workplaces, our homes, on the news broadcasts, and from the mailman. Heaven forbid we should get unsettling news from those who deliver the Word of God to us.
The messenger of God has one loyalty and one loyalty only—to the God Who gave him the message. He must say what God tells him to say, even when it makes people uncomfortable.
Ahab was not pleased with the message Micaiah delivered that day. He paid no attention to it and lost his life because of it. That is precisely why God’s messenger needs to deliver only what God says—to save lives, to prevent people from doing foolish things that heap horrendous consequences on their heads.
Perhaps the Word of God doesn’t always bring us pleasure, but a little discomfort accepted and heeded is much better than the whole world of grief that descends on us when we insist on only hearing what we want to hear.
Lynda is a missionary, speaker, educator, writer, editor, and cat lover. She was born and raised in Timmins, the heart of gold mining country in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Lynda has served with Fellowship International for more than thirty years, first in Colombia, a brief stint on home staff in Toronto, Ontario and, more recently in Venezuela. She is currently on staff at First Baptist Church in Timmins, Ontario where her primary focus is spiritual formation. The author of Divine Design for Daily Living, a 365 day devotional journey through the entire Bible (published in Spanish and English), Lynda blogs Lynda’s Grain of Sand, maintains her own website Northern Breezes , and has been seconded by Fellowship International to serve on the Communications team of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.