Grieve not the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4: 17-32
By AS Venter
When we reflect upon the word “grieve” or “grief” our thoughts are immediately turned to an intense disappointment experienced by a person. Perhaps it is because of the infidelity of a marriage partner or as a result of the demise of a beloved one. It may be as a result of the disappointment a child’s behaviour has caused the expectations parents had of him or it can be a child who is grieved by the conduct of a parent.
When reading the words: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” it signifies a warning, that mankind must not, through his behaviour, bring about an intense disappointment in God the Holy Spirit.
To properly understand this aspect of grieving the Holy Spirit, requires of us to realise Who the Holy Spirit is. In addition we are also to determine who it is that can grieve the Holy Spirit; in what way one can grieve the Holy Spirit; as well as what the consequences are for a person should the Holy Spirit be grieved.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE THIRD PERSON OF THE DIVINE HOLY TRINITY
First of all we need to establish who the Holy Spirit is, so that we can understand the concept of God’s Word telling us: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.
The answer to this question has been recorded for us in 1Jn. 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
The Holy Spirit, according to this verse, is therefore a Person and is generally known as the third Person of the Holy Trinity. We say the third Person, but by that we do not imply third in rank, because all three are simultaneously the Person of the Holy Trinity.
When reference is made to the Holy Spirit as the third Person in the Holy Trinity, it is based on the revelational order of the Holy Trinity.
The manner in which the Holy Spirit functioned in Old Testament times, as well as the way the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, are the reasons why many people regard the Holy Spirit not as a Person but as an influence. The Holy Spirit acted sporadically in an incidental manner in the Old Testament. By that is meant that the Spirit moved a person for a specific purpose or task, but once the task had been concluded, the Holy Spirit then withdrew Himself from the relative person.
The dispensation of the Church in the New Testament came into being with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and in God’s Word there are definite tasks and attributes ascribed to Him, which beyond any doubt distinguishes the Holy Spirit as a Person. In Jn. 16:7 – 8 we read: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
In addition the Holy Spirit has come to regenerate sinners as children of God, to then dwell in them to all eternity, for we read in Jn. 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”
The text we are reflecting upon also confirms that the Holy Spirit is a Person, because the emotion of grief, which can only apply to a person, is ascribed to the Holy Spirit, for we read: Eph. 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
A further salient point regarding the Person of the Holy Spirit is His humble demeanour, in that He moves, convinces and regenerates mankind. Nevertheless, He never comes into prominence, but the focus is constantly directed on Jesus.
It is this humble stance of the Holy Spirit which often gives rise to His work being underestimated and even to be scorned, resulting in various reactions in persons.
THE NEED TO ESTABLISH WHO CAN GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
To correctly understand the idea of grieving the Holy Spirit and who it is that can grieve Him, requires of us to first clarify the concept of “insulting the Spirit of grace.”
IT IS THE UNSAVED WHO INSULT THE HOLY SPIRIT
We read in Heb. 10:29 “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”
To insult (“to do despite unto”) the Holy Spirit is the equivalent of a person intentionally reacting or responding in a disparaging, offensive and hurtful manner towards the Holy Spirit.
This verse according to Heb. 10:29 must not mistakenly be interpreted as a doctrine of relapse, but should be explained in the light of 2Pet.2:20-22. It is when the Holy Spirit brings about a conviction in the heart of the sinner, and the sinner shows an interest in what he hears, but when he is confronted with the choice as to whether he should accept Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer, he steadfastly chooses against taking this course held up before him.
To insult the Holy Spirit therefore is tantamount to the sinner intentionally acting in a derogatory, offensive and hurtful manner concerning the conviction which the Holy Spirit had brought about in that person’s heart. To do despite unto (to insult) the Holy Spirit is therefore directly applicable to the sinner.
How often do we not find that a child of God who takes a stand for Jesus, is slandered and insulted, or that such a person is spoken of contemptuously. We assume that it is obviously directed at such a person and not at the Holy Spirit, but when we consider the text we are reflecting upon it becomes clear that the Holy Spirit has sealed every child of God, which comprises thereof that He makes His abode with the child of God.
Every remark passed about the child of God which is intended as an insult and to slander, is in point of fact directed against the Holy Spirit, for the one who thus insults “hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.” Is it not rightly said by Paul in 2Cor. 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
How often have we not experienced doors being slammed shut in our faces during evangelisation, or that people reacted by flying into a rage when they are spoken to about Jesus. By behaving in this manner they insult the Holy Spirit because children of God merely act as instructed by God in Acts 1:8 to be witnesses, so that Tit. 2:11 can be fulfilled, for we read: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
We have good reason to feel indignant when the Holy Spirit is insulted in this way. And yet we find that every week the Holy Spirit is insulted, even in religious meetings. During gospel messages the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and yet people who are not at peace with God find it possible at the close of the service to walk out with a carefree attitude.
The Spirit of God is insulted because people justify themselves notwithstanding this conviction. A sustained insulting of the Holy Spirit can consequently lead to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Mark the words of Jesus according to Mt. 12:31 “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”
How dreadful when people persist in insulting the Spirit of God. The question put to you who know that you are not at peace with God is: For how long will you continue insulting the Spirit of God before the opportunity afforded you has elapsed for ever, with only the eternal damnation awaiting?
IT IS ONLY THE CHILD OF GOD WHO CAN GRIEVE THE SPIRIT
This takes us back to the text we are reflecting upon which brings forth that it is the child of God who can grieve the Holy Spirit, for we read in Eph. 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” It is only the child of God who is sealed by the Holy Spirit at the time of his salvation.
Whilst preparing this message I merely realised that what actually resulted in a continuation of grieving the Holy Spirit through the deeds of a child of God, is not the origin of the sorrow in the context wherein God’s Word highlights it for us. It is really part of the consequence when the Holy Spirit is grieved.
What then does in mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? To grieve the Holy Spirit originates therein that the child of God actually undervalues the presence of the Spirit of God in his life. The Holy Spirit is therefore made to be subordinate to the other Persons in the Holy Trinity.
This means that we do not take into account that God the Holy Spirit is at all times present in our lives as God, and that we must at all times be in a positional-perfect state before God.
This can be explained as follows:
When away from their normal neighbourhood children of God often experiment with sin, for instance when they are on vacation. It may be that they do not know anyone there or think that they are not known by anyone there. In that way they deny the presence of the Holy Spirit and consequently the Holy Spirit is grieved. Take Abraham for example when he lied about his wife Sarah being his sister. Listen to how he defends himself regarding this lie when facing a foreign king, as recorded in Gen.20:11 “And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.”
We listen to a message about the Second Coming of Christ, or a definite chain of events take place such as disasters caused by natural forces that point to the closeness of the Advent of Christ, and then we want to make rapid adjustments in our lives by quickly discarding sins we consciously embrace. In that way we can then say we lived a holy life, for does God’s Word not say according to 1Jn. 3:2-3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
What a pity that the selfsame sins are then again adopted as soon as the crisis, predicament or impact of the message fades away, precisely because the presence of the Holy Spirit is disregarded.
The Spirit of God is grieved by children of God simply because we should at all times be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit and His position as God in our lives, so that it will not be necessary to implement instant-adjustments in an attempt at pleasing God.
The Holy Spirit is furthermore grieved therein that children of God, through the way they live, fail to appreciate the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why they so often make decisions completely on their own. Should we not again grasp the truth of 2 Cor. 4:13 – 14 where it is written: “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he (the Holy Spirit) which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.”
If then it is the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and who is going to raise us at the Second Coming of Christ after we already departed from this life, why then would He not be able to act mightily and in verity in our lives?
Should we not once again admit to ourselves that God the Holy Spirit is God, and that He is present in our lives every moment.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
What then are the consequences for the child of God if the Holy Spirit is grieved in his life? Precisely that which Paul experienced as a problem in the Galatian congregation, for we read in Gal.3:1 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” And verse 3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
When the Spirit of God is grieved in the lives of children of God, then happens what is underscored by Paul for us in this part of Scripture, because children of God who before were on the path of virtue, suddenly find themselves in the domain of carnality, and a spiritual insensitivity begins to take root in the lives of such persons.
Suddenly we find that the children of God are more attuned to the everyday liabilities and burdens than being focused on the spiritual state of souls crossing their path.
All of a sudden we find that children of God behave in a human-directed and no longer in a God-directed manner. When God’s children begin debating the subject of sin and they even choose sides, it is indicative of insensitivity and a spiritual hardness that has become established in the lives of such children of God.
The fact that homosexualism is debated in churches is not an indication that all those who defend it are unsaved, but it is in fact proof that human rights are placed above God’s standards. It is clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is grieved and that children of God are no longer attuned to hearing His voice.
Is that not precisely what happens when we choose sides with one of the parties involved in a divorce, whereas God’s Word regards divorce as a sin?
Spiritual insensitivity due to the fact that the Spirit of God is grieved in the life of a child of God, proceeds to become spiritual hardness which leads to a spiritual darkness in the life of such a child of God. (Eph. 4:17-18)
How many children of God find themselves being spiritual wrecks on the path of life, and are tossed about by every wind of change, because they lack the Holy Spirit in their lives.
By spiritual darkness I do not mean to say that such a child of God will be doomed and perish, but that such a person reveals a lack of spiritual insight which can lead to decisions and actions that will bring about disgrace upon the Name of God. Then the words of Rom. 2:24 will become true, when we read: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”
When the position and Person of the Holy Spirit is properly understood, it becomes clear that the sinner grieves the Holy Spirit through his offensive behaviour when the Holy Spirit reproves of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment [Jn.16:8].
On the other hand, the child of God can grieve the Holy Spirit through his disparagement of the position of the Holy Spirit of God in his life, which results in a spiritual insensitivity, and in turn leads to spiritual obscuration.
The fact that blasphemous utterances are increasingly being made in the media and the world of entertainment, and in addition thereto the absence of sinners becoming converted in churches, is an indication that the Holy Spirit is being grieved by the world at large, whilst the life of God’s children no longer exerts any influence.
The impotence of the lives of children of God and the kinds of point of view they assume, is a distinct proof that the Spirit of God is grieved in the lives of the majority of God’s children.
That’s why people who profess to be saved and they therefore have the seal of the Holy Spirit, apparently have no qualms of the conscience when they without good reason stay away from congregational assemblies.
How much longer are you going to grieve the Spirit of God by vindicating yourself and thereby running the risk of being eternally doomed?
CHILD OF GOD
Child of God, you may never have realised it, but the Holy Spirit has been grieved for such a long time in your life. Why not bow before God in repentance so that He can restore you?
Child of God, do not put it off, because you run the risk of bringing about disgrace upon His Name.
May you, with whom God has spoken, receive His grace not to procrastinate, but to react in a positive manner.
THE FULNESS OF THE TIME
Galatians 4: 1-7
By AS Venter
We read in Jn.3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Jesus Christ’s coming to this earth was therefore evidence of the Father’s love for a doomed humanity, whereas the death of Jesus on the cross is the proof of Jesus’ love for mankind.
God makes a further statement in his Word regarding the Advent of Jesus, for we read in Gal. 4: 4-5 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
When the fulness of time had come, God sent His Son to this earth. The word “fulness” in this context points to a time that was absolutely fulfilled and no further postponement was therefore possible. The prophecies uttered by the prophets through the ages, had reached it’s full measure, because all the signs that pointed to this moment in time were fulfilled.
The birth of the one who was to point out Jesus as the Lamb of God, namely John the Baptist, had already been announced. In addition the birth of Jesus had also already been announced and it was in fact fulfilled according to the prophecies. We can therefore quite rightly say that the fulness of the time is God’s appointed time.
When however we ponder over the idea of “the fulness of the time”, we have to admit that the fulness of God’s time, humanly speaking, was perhaps at the most inopportune time imaginable.
Jesus came to this earth, while there was no place for Him to lay, except in a manger.
Jesus came to this earth, while the Jewish people were suppressed under the tough yoke of the Roman laws, whilst they were inhibited as a nation by their own legalism.
Jesus came to this earth, while the Jewish people were bogged down by the formalistic religion of Judaism.
Jesus came to this earth, while the masses did not expect Him, for it was only the individuals such as Simeon and Anna who expected Him. On the contrary, Herod and the whole of Jerusalem together with him were upset when they heard of the birth of Jesus.
Jesus came in the fulness of the time, but the fulness of the time was inopportune for humanity. We read in Jn.1:11 “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
If however we look back at the events that took place in the fulness of the time, it becomes clear to us that God’s decree, from the birth of Jesus up to the end of time, went into action in consequence of this, so that humanity can share in the fulness of God’s love through Jesus Christ.
THE FULNESS OF THE TIME THAT WAS FULFILLED WITH THE BIRTH OF JESUS, USHERED IN THE MERCY OF REGENERATION
We read in Col.2: 9-10 “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
It is through the fulness of the time which has been fulfilled that humanity can experience the fulness of God’s presence through regeneration in his life. In the Old Testament it was necessary to bring a sacrifice once a year for the purification of sins and then the Holy Spirit came upon a person, as opposed to (in the N.T.) being indwelt as has been the case after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
It is through the fulness of the time which has been fulfilled with the birth of Jesus, together with His work of atonement, that mankind is now able to receive the fulness of God.
One may perhaps reason that the fulness of God implies sinless perfection, but to explain it in simple terms it amounts to this: God created a void in every person. It is for this very reason that quite early in life a person is already on an exploring expedition. Just think of that small child investigating everything. It is directed exclusively at filling this void which only God can satisfy.
It has been said that a person absorbs the greatest concentration of knowledge during the first seven years of his life. It is for this very reason that little children are so receptive for the Gospel, as opposed to the elderly, who are not. The Roman Catholic church and the communists actually say: Let me have the child for the first seven years of his life, thereafter you may have him back.
It is such a pity that many people turn to drugs and other addictive evils in an attempt at filling this void in their lives, whereas it cannot offer any fulfilment. It is nevertheless a fact that when that person, in spite of such a ruined condition, participates in the fulness of the Deity, one is absolutely amazed to see how that restless seeking, and that misery, changes into a repose in God.
Jesus came in the fulness of the time, specifically to give rest to the weary sinner. We read in Mt.11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Through the birth of Jesus in the fulness of the time the way was prepared for every person to become a partaker of the fulness of the Godhead, and it articulates the divine nature which mankind participates in at his rebirth (regeneration). We read in 2Pet. 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Jesus came in the fulness of the time in order that a soul in distress can also in this day experience the fulness of the Godhead in his life. How many souls in our day are in peril of their lives due to despair, depression, loneliness and other related factors, which in many instances lead to suicide?
If only those who are in distress will realise that God sent His Son in the fulness of the time, so that searching souls can receive the fulness of the Godhead at this very moment.
THROUGH THE FULNESS OF THE TIME WHICH WAS FULFILLED WITH THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, THE GRACE OF GOD WAS ALSO EXTENDED TO THE GENTILES
In the fulness of the time Jesus came to what was His own and His own people did not accept Him [Jn 1:11]. Not only was He rejected when born, but He was also rejected during His life, death and resurrection from the dead.
God utilized this negative attitude of His people to the advantage of the Gentiles, of whom we are a part. We read in Rom.11:25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
These words also contain a warning for us, since a time has been appointed for the Gentiles, because Rom.11:25 states: “...until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” [until the full number of the Gentiles has come in]. By this God is not saying that there will be a limited number that will come in, whereas there will be others who will not have the opportunity to come in. On the contrary, for we are told in 2Pet.3:9 “The Lord is … longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The problem arises therein that the fulness of the time whereupon Jesus came to this earth, attended by all the privileges for the entire humanity, has also become an inopportune time for the people of our day. That is why mankind will increasingly turn his back on Jesus.
The fulness of the time to react positively in thankfulness to the first coming of Jesus to this earth, will soon be something of the past. In this regard God has also appointed a fulness of time.
The question is: What is your relationship with Jesus like at this moment? God wants the full number of the Gentiles to come in, which also includes you and me. If however we revolt against the idea of “Gentile” [a heathen or pagan] we may perhaps be excluded from this privilege.
The fulness of the time for the heathendom furthermore points to the fact that the opportunity for the child of God to be a winner of souls, will soon be a thing of the past. Angels desire this privilege which is to a great extent despised by children of God. Angels are not permitted to proclaim the Gospel and in quite the same way the time will arrive for us as children of God when this privilege will for ever be something of the past.
Jesus Himself refers to a demarcated time for the nations: Lk. 21:24 “...and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
The story is told of an Easterner who said to a child of God: “If I were to believe that there is a hell as is believed by you Christians, I would have crawled till my knees were torn to shreds to make certain that people were reconciled with Jesus, but I do not see such urgency and earnestness in Christians.”
Child of God: God sent His Son in the fulness of the time to this earth, but God also determined in His counsel that there will come a time of fulness for the unsaved to enter into God’s kingdom.
You and me have the privilege as co-workers of God to make this fulness become fulfilled. What about your family and friends in who’s company you are in this day, are they saved?
GOD SENT HIS SON IN THE FULNESS OF THE TIME, BUT GOD ALSO DETERMINED THAT THE FULNESS OF TIMES WILL AGAIN BE FULFILLED FOR THE SECOND ADVENT OF JESUS
We read in Eph.1: 7-10 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
This text summarises God’s counsel for us, because Jesus came to this earth as testimony of the Father’s love for humanity. Jesus came to this earth in the fulness of times, so that we could be saved, so that in the fulness of times he might gather together in one all of us in Christ.
It is precisely herein that God once more appointed a day to be the fulness of times wherein Jesus will return again. It is precisely Jesus’ first coming to this earth which serves as clear evidence that what God had spoken through the prophets, has been fulfilled.
All through the Word of God the prophets also spoke of the fulness of the time of the Second Advent of Jesus, therefore we know that God will also fulfil His Word regarding this occurrence in future.
God has shown us signs in His Word that will indicate the fulness of that time, although no one will be able to determine the day or the hour of the fulness of that time.
Paul refers to the time that will precede the fulness of this future occurrence, as “the last days”, and then he provides us with specific signs wherewith we will be able to identify these days, whereby it becomes clear that God’s appointed day for the Second Coming, humanly speaking, will be at a very inopportune time for most people.
We read in 2Tim.3: 1-5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Paul says: “from such turn away” precisely because the fulness of the time of the Second Coming of Christ will also occur at a very inopportune time for them, but that you and I can look forward to this appointed day and occurrence with expectation and joy.
God has sent His Son in the fulness of time so that we:
Can be saved.
Can be co-workers of God in bringing His Word to sinners.
Can prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus.
The Lord speaketh the truth. The coming of Jesus to this earth was in the fulness of the time. However, there is a subsequent fulness of the time that may be fulfilled at any moment.
Have you already participated in the fulness of God’s time:
Because your soul has been saved?
Because you participate in making people acquainted with Jesus?
EXAMPLES FROM THE WORD OF GOD
1Kings 22: 1-40
By AS Venter
King Jehoshaphat asked the question: “Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?” If we look at the circumstances wherein Jehoshaphat asked this question, it compels us to examine this section carefully.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was one of the few kings who served God in all sincerity. Yet in this narrative we find him in the company of Ahab, king of Israel, arguably one of the most ungodly kings of Israel.
Ahab insisted that Ramoth in Gilead, which formed part of Israel’s territory but was now under the control of the king of Syria [Aram], had to be recaptured. Jehoshaphat however maintained that the prophets should enquire after the will of God regarding this intention, whereupon Zedekiah and about 400 prophets already announced the victory in the Name of the Lord.
Jehoshaphat was not comfortable with the pronouncement of the prophets, that’s why he asks the question in verse 7: “Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?” Ahab says that Micaiah is also a prophet who may be consulted, but Ahab makes no secret about his disapproval of Micaiah.
Micaiah is called, but at the same time the messenger attempts to prepare Micaiah to make a pronouncement that will be in agreement with that of the other prophets. When Micaiah nevertheless makes a favourable pronouncement in unison with the other prophets, it is in reality the ungodly Ahab who immediately realises that Micaiah was not speaking the truth. Perhaps Micaiah made this pronouncement sarcastically, precisely so that Ahab would realise the wrongness of this pronouncement.
When Micaiah thereafter did make known what the will of God was, wherein a judgement was announced over Ahab, the latter became very angry. In spite thereof that God’s judgements were announced over him, Ahab nevertheless went into battle, which ended in his death.
In this narrative four main characters are portrayed for us, who by their actions are representative of every person on earth and possibly even those in this audience, namely:
Ahab – typifying the wicked and unsaved person.
Jehoshaphat – typifying the child of God who has condoned compromise in his life.
Zedekiah and the 400 prophets – being a type of the modern church in our day.
Micaiah – typifying the child of God who is in close contact with God.
The purpose of this message is therefore aimed at displaying the four characters to you more fully, in order that each of us will identify with his/her position before God.
AHAB TYPIFYING THE WICKED AND UNSAVED PERSON
We read in 1Kings 22:8 “There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”
Ahab, king of Israel, who had all the opportunities at his disposal, because God had so often spoken to him through the prophets. Did he not witness the miracle when God sent fire to consume Elijah’s sacrifice when Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal? There God was revealed to him as the true God.
God was not only revealed to Ahab as the one and only true God, but Ahab also experienced God’s mercy when he humbled himself before God regarding Naboth’s vineyard which he had seized. We read in 1Kings 21:28-29 “And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.”
Then we regard Ahab in the Scripture we have read. He hated the truth, that’s why he wanted to content himself with the prophecy of the false prophets. However, when Micaiah brought the same message as the 400 prophets, Ahab immediately perceived that it was not the truth.
What Ahab said to Micaiah is rather conspicuous, for we read in 1Kings 22:16 “And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?”
In spite of the truth of God’s Word, which was conveyed to Ahab as a warning, he proceeded with his plans. He decided to take his own precautionary measures, for we read in 1Kings 22:30 “And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.”
He died in the battle despite his precautionary measures. Like a fool Ahab tried to work out his own way in life, but at the end thereof he died without God and without hope.
Ahab personifies the ungodly and unsaved, but just consider how these actions have repeated themselves through the ages in the lives of the masses. How many individuals through the years have not heard that tender promptings of the Holy Spirit whispered to him or her, and nevertheless scorned it?
How many people are there who have repeatedly experienced God’s mercy? Just think of all those narrow escapes in your life, where God safeguarded you so that you would not die in that unsaved state. The problem is that you are inclined not to perceive these opportunities of mercy, but in that day when you are saved, then you will realise how often God’s mercy emerged in your life.
The only problem is that those who are unsaved despise these opportunities of mercy that appear in their lives, and they will unfortunately only realise in eternity that it was God’s mercy for them to be saved – but then it will be too late for ever.
The masses experience God’s mercy, yet they hate the Word and the way of God, because it runs counter to their plans and to that which they would like to hear.
At the same time we see the folly of humanity in our day, who think they do not need God’s protection and that they can ensure their own security and salvation.
My friend, have you seen what happens in this world if God allows a disaster caused by natural forces to happen? That on which mankind wants to establish his future, collapses like a house of cards. This poses the question: What are you holding on to at this moment to guarantee your eternal destination?
Jehoshaphat, typifying the child of God who has condoned compromise in his life
Whereas Ahab portrays the wicked and unsaved person, Jehoshaphat on the other hand depicts the one who is saved but who is in a backslidden state, for we read in 1Kings 22: 43 “And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father…” Verse 44 “And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.”
Jehoshaphat made peace with the wicked Ahab, and before long we find him in the company of Ahab. He participated in Ahab’s plans to take Ramoth away from the king of Syria. Jehoshaphat therefore became involved in going out in combat for Ahab.
So strategic. Jehoshaphat found himself in a compromise with the king of Israel, but in his heart he was ill at ease with the course things were taking, that is why he appealed to the prophets to enquire of the Lord what His will was. The problem however arose in that Jehoshaphat received a false message.
When Micaiah arrives on the scene at the insistence of Jehoshaphat and he is truthfully informed of God’s warning, we find that Jehoshaphat nevertheless enters into the battle together with Ahab. In this way his own life is also put in danger, because he is mistaken for Ahab by the enemy. We read in 1Kings 22:32 “And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.”
How often has it happened that children of God at first walked in the path of dependence on the Lord, but somewhere along the way in an unguarded moment they no longer saw the wrong in what used to be regarded as such. Just think of the stand you used to take against obscene jokes and silly talk, but gradually you began to participate therein.
Child of God , we must take note of how God’s Word warns us against evil talk, precisely because it opens up the way to depraved friendships and alliances, that is why we read in 1Cor.15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
It will be these friendships that will put you in danger of falling into sin, as was the case with Jehoshaphat who wanted to know what God’s will was in the matter of advancing with Ahab against Syria. There will always be those false prophets who want to put forward that which is wrong, suggesting it to be the right thing. Maybe God convinced you of the wrongness of a matter, but perhaps you nevertheless sought the advice of people and were given the wrong guidance.
Child of God, haven’t you also, as with Jehoshaphat of old, become so entwined in your worldly friendships and conversations, that you are now considered to be a part of the ungodly? Thereby that precious testimony of being God’s child that only the Holy Spirit can provide His children with, will be harmed to such an extent that you will be regarded as being part of the world.
It has become utterly necessary for us as children of God to preserve our testimony, for does the Word of God not rightly say in Rom. 2:24 “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”
Zedekiah and the FOUR HUNDRED prophets WHO ARE a type of the modern church in our day
In the third example we consider Zedekiah and the four hundred prophets who represent the modern church in our day. They are those who, with a message of prosperity attended by signs, want to perform as if they are acting on behalf of the Lord, for we read in 1Kings 22:6 “Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.” (Verse 11) “And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.”
The deceitfulness of these prophets did not stop there, but the messenger who went to call Micaiah attempted to coerce him into proclaiming, as Zedekiah and the four hundred prophets did, a falsehood in the Name of God.
When their attempts failed, Zedekiah and his fellow-prophets became Micaiah’s fiercest adversaries, for we read in 1Kings 22:24 “But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?”
Zedekiah and the four hundred prophets typify the modern church and spiritual leaders of the present-day. Over the past decade or two there has been a drastic increase in spiritual leaders who preach a dogma that is alien to the gospel of the Bible.
It is not only the modern spiritual leaders who’s numbers have increased, church members also have increasingly began to follow this weird, permissive school of thought of the modern church. If the conservative child of God dares to warn against this, a chorus of voices are raised accusing suchlike of being insensitive and unloving.
God’s Word warns us against this state of affairs, for we read in Hos. 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:…” The reason for this situation is to be found therein that mankind has organised Jesus out of the church, for we read in Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock…” If Jesus has been organised out of the church, the true adherent will also no longer be tolerated.
The question arises: What are your exigencies regarding the church and it’s message? Is it in unison with God’s Word or is it in agreement with the demands of our day?
Micaiah – typifying the child of God who IS IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH God
Micaiah, the man of God. When he speaks in keeping with the false prophets, even the wicked perceive that there is something wrong, for we read in 1Kings 22:15&16 “So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.” (Verse 16) “And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?”
When Micaiah makes known God’s word, it speaks of that close contact with God, and thus he incurs the wrath of the false prophets. We read in 1Kings 22:24 “But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?”
When Micaiah articulates God’s word, it is rejected in spite of the warning. It even results in persecution, for we read in 1Kings 22:27 “And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.”
Child of God, have you perhaps made the choice in your life to honestly follow Jesus? Jesus is telling you in this sermon that it will not be an easy road. It will bring on struggle, oppression and persecution, but at the end thereof even the ungodly will have to admit that your life and testimony bear witness of truthfulness.
Listen to what God’s Word tells us according to Ezek. 33:32-33 “And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.”
In this section we have seen examples from God’s Word whereby we can evaluate our lives.
The word of God was not only directed at Ahab as a warning, but also at Jehoshaphat who was in a compromise with Ahab, as well as Zedekiah and the four hundred prophets, to make them realise their falseness.
What is your spiritual status?
Are you persuaded by God’s Word? Then I would like to plead with you not to argue against God’s warnings.
If your life and testimony testifies of a walk in the ways of the Lord, then stand firm and put your trust in Him, because His ultimate objective for your life is for you to live eternally in glory together with Jesus.