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The devil is God’s devil

There is this story in the Old Testament that I find both funny and illuminating.  Check it out – it’s one of the best exchanges in scripture – it will surprise you.   So, in 2 Chron. 18, Jehoshaphat and King Ahab are talking.  King Ahab has 400 court prophets who are sycophants …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
There is this story in the Old Testament that I find both funny and illuminating.  Check it out – it’s one of the best exchanges in scripture – it will surprise you.
So, in 2 Chron. 18, Jehoshaphat and King Ahab are talking.  King Ahab has 400 court prophets who are sycophants and say only what Ahab wants to hear.   And he has one ragamuffin prophet named Micaiah that he doesn’t like. 

Ahab wants to go to war and asks his prophets if it’s a good idea.  Being sycophants, they say, “Go, God will let you win.”

But Jehoshaphat sees through the charade and asks if there isn’t a real prophet in the house.

Ahab answers, “Yes, Micaiah; but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me.” 

Jehoshaphat replies, “You should not say that.”

So King Ahab says, “Bring Micaiah at once.”

Micaiah shows up and all the 400 prophets are prophesying to the king, “Attack and be victorious.”

But the king’s messenger has tipped off Micaiah and advised him, “Let your word agree with theirs and speak favorably.”

Micaiah caves, compromises his integrity and tells Ahab what he wants to hear: “Attack and be victorious.”

“How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” Ahab replies – this is not his first rodeo.

“I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd,” Micaiah prophesies.

Ahab turns to Jehoshaphat and says something that sounds like a Groucho Marx line:  “Didn’t I tell you he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”

At this point, the die is cast for Micaiah and he lets it all hang out, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord enthroned, and all the angel armies of heaven standing at attention… And God said, ‘How can we seduce Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead?’
Some said this, and some said that. Then a spirit stepped out, stood before God, and said, ‘I’ll seduce him.’
‘And how will you do it?’ said God.
‘Easy, I’ll get all the prophets to lie.’
‘That should do it,’ said God. ‘On your way – seduce him!’
‘And that’s what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom.'”

Of course it happened just as Micaiah prophesied – Ahab was killed and his army defeated.

Here’s the interesting thing about this story.  When it’s time to get the job done, God has any number of spirits to call on.  Who does he call?  A lying spirit.  In other words, a devil.  This is not a contest between God on one side and the devil on the other.  Not only do demons shudder before our God, but they curtsy and bow to do his bidding.

All God has to do is snap his fingers and the demons do exactly what he wants.  We don’t serve a God who frets about things getting done.  He’s got it all under control.  Nothing happens to you that hasn’t first passed through his fingers.

Comments (7)

  • Love this! Controversial for some, I am sure though! I remember being at a seminar at a festival called New Wine one Summer and a guy said either God is sovereign or He’s not. Either He is on the throne or He isn’t. And if He is, then nothing can happen in your life that He isn’t aware of and hasn’t either ordained or allowed. That’s kinda scary when you think it through, but if you throw into the equation that God is good, it’s a secure place to be. Like the beavers say of Aslan, “He’s not a tame lion, but he is good!”

    “Nothing happens to you that hasn’t first passed through His fingers.” Absolutely. Awful, wonderful, amazing and true. I think it was Max Lucado who said “blessed are those who have realised they are not God and have quit trying for His job!”

  • PTL, a good take on this account. surely, satan and cohorts are on a short leash. alot of our “negative” circumstances or “attacks” are direct hits from God himself! many folk need a spirit of discernment and a second look at scripture to find that our Father is “out to get us”, into a place of blessing for the advancement of His kingdom and our growth. I think also of Job. what Job needed during his (nine month?) ordeal was to read the book of Job! well, I think some of you know what I mean by this? see the BIG picture, its possible.

    Bill H

  • Funny… I was in process of writing a blog on this same topic today. Thanks for provide some inter-blog-linkage. I so struggle with this, but won’t settle for anything less than worshipping a God who is bigger than my understanding.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Oh! My Gosh! Are you telling me that God created the evil one for the day of destruction, and that the Lord created the devil!!! Are you telling me that God allows evil to happen? Can you be saying that the devil does nothing without the Lord’s knowledge? And that darkness and light are alike unto our GOD? You can’t be saying that satan really presented himself before God with the other sons of God? And …that the demons believe and shudder at the name of JESUS? Also, that it was God’s will for Corrie Ten Boone, along with Betsy to go to Ravensbruk Concentration Camp – so his love, grace, and power would be known? Well, I must say that I have read many of these things in the Bible…but as with when I read them 20 years ago, they change a way of thinking and really empowers JESUS CHRIST. Oh, that I might know him, the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings, and be conformed to the image of his death – it is so obvious that I have not attained yet…Philippians. Let us all press on, leaving what is behind, looking to Jesus… Thanks, Set…

  • God isn’t surprised, He sees it all, He can make do with the divine, devils or us to accomplish His plan and in the end isn’t a “paint by numbers” playmate. Thanks for the reminder Seth….

  • Good stuff Seth. Wild thought, but it’s there in black and white. Funny thing is, even after insisting to Micaiah tell the truth, then hearing the prophesy, he still goes out on the attack. Duh.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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