“But Jehoshaphat said: ‘ Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of him?'”  2 Chronicles 18:4

So the King of Israel said to Jehoshaphat: ‘ There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.'” 2 Chronicles 18:5

There is an old saying:  “Don’t ask the question that you can’t stand the answer to.”  That seems to be the problem with Ahab the King of Israel.  You see he did not follow after the Lord.  Ahab wanted to do what he wanted.  If worshiping a foreign god along with the Lord God seemed to make do for the people then he would do it.  If building idols placated the people, what’s the problem with that.  If he wanted to make war against someone for selfish gain; who should stand in his way, after all he’s king isn’t he?  And Ahab knew how to stack the deck in his favor, he hired priests who told him what he wanted to hear instead of faithfully, earnestly seeking God.  Then there was Micaiah, a true prophet.  Whenever King Ahab would seek counsel from Micaiah concerning if God really wanted Ahab to do something and whether Ahab would be successful; Micaiah actually went to God and inquired of Him.  And even though Ahab shunned, threatened and even exiled Micaiah, Micaiah would always tell the King Ahab the truth, which he didn’t want to hear.

So now you have the two kings, Jehoshaphat who has a heart and mind after God and wants to truly hear the honest answer from the prophet of God.  And there is Ahab who doesn’t even want to ask because he knows that his aims are selfish and foolish and the prophet will tell him that God is not with him.  Sure enough Micaiah comes and answers.  He tells the kings that if they go out to do battle, then Ahab will not return.  With the insistence of King Ahab the kings do go out to do battle and Ahab is killed.  Even though Jehoshaphat also went to battle, he was spared and returned to Judah.

What are we to take from this story Dear Sisters and Brothers?  When we inquire of Our Heavenly Father, are we looking for true information and inspiration or simply affirmation for what we’ve already decided we should do?  Scripture is very clear that God’s ways are not our ways and His wisdom far exceeds our own.  So it is very likely that when we ask Him for guidance, His answer may be different than we thought and may even seem to confound us.  Yet if we ask in faith, humbling ourselves to truly seek out His Will, we will receive our answer and be blessed in it.  However, if all we’re listening for is a yes man who will tell us to do what our earthly heart desires, then we are in for a lifetime of disappointment.  It will probably come to pass that we will stop asking altogether because we’re going to be pretty sure that His answer is not the one we want to hear.

So Jesus Christ entreated us to seek, to knock and to ask.  Yet Jesus Christ would also advise us to be mindful of just who it is we are seeking after, whose door we are knocking on and to whom it is that we are posing our questions; it is to none other than Our Heavenly Father.  Jesus Christ would warn us that we are not to trifle with His reply.  For our Heavenly Father will reply.  And because His answer is perfect, He would want us to be faithfully obedient to His answer.

First, let it be that in all humility, we do seek God’s guidance.  Secondly, let us be sure in faith that He will answer.  And with equal importance let us rejoice that the Creator of all things is willing to share His Nature, His Plan, His Knowledge with us to the extent that we can understand it even if the answer is not the one we were expecting or even hoping for.  Please, please never call an answer from Our Heavenly Father evil.  We can either end up like King Ahab, being destroyed because we will not heed the answer of Our Heavenly Father.  Or we can be like King Jehoshaphat, who earnestly desires to hear the answer of the Lord whatever it may be and in the end, even if there is a misstep, be saved in faith by humbly responding to it.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we praise Your Holy Name that you have mercifully allowed us to come before you with our questions.  Give us the strength to wait upon your reply and then joyously receive it, knowing the perfection of the Author of the answer.  Forgive us when we refrain from asking because we fear the answer or desire to disregard an answer given that upsets our plans.  Deliver us when we strive to carry out your answer no matter how imperfect that attempt might be.  That in the asking, the receiving of the answer and in carrying out Your Will we would live lives of Praise to Your Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen