God speaks into One ear, and we end up coming out the other. Our habit of Selective Listening, Elective Hearing.

“I do not know why I should say anything to anyone anymore. It only goes in one ear and comes straight out the other with no stops anywhere in between!”

George Stewart – In One Ear and out the Other (1978) Lyrics

When someone talks, be sure you listen
When someone speaks, be sure you hear
‘Cause only if you listen to what they say
Then what they say will be perfectly clear

Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let those messages slip away
Be sure you know, you know what people say
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other

When someone talks, you’re gonna listen
When someone speaks, you’re gonna hear
‘Cause if you really listen to what they say
Then what they say will be perfectly clear

Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let those messages slip away
Be sure you understand what people say
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other

Don’t let God’s messages slip away
You’ll understand what the King of Heaven says
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other

Listen to what people say
Listen to what people say

When teachers talk, children will listen
When parents speak, the kids will hear
If everybody listens to what they say
Then what they say will be perfectly clear

Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other
Don’t let those messages slip away
Be sure you know, you know what people say
Don’t let it go in
One ear and out the other…

1 Kings 22:13-18 New American Standard Bible

Micaiah Predicts Defeat

13 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are [a]unanimously favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, I shall speak it.”

15 When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, should we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or should we refrain?” And he said, “Go up and succeed, for the Lord will hand it over to the king!” 16 Then the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear that you will tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 So he said,

“I saw all Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
Like sheep that have no shepherd.
And the Lord said,
‘These people have no master.
Each of them is to return to his house in peace.’”

18 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything good regarding me, but only bad?”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

One problem that plagues the church of our day is the plague of “Selective Hearing”. In other words, we hear only that part of a message that agrees with our own point of view, and we discard anything that doesn’t agree with us.

As a retired professional Psychiatric Registered Nurse, I have often run into this attitude in counseling sessions. I know that the first duty, and probably the most important thing that we can do as a counselor is to just sit and listen as those who come for counseling sit, vent their feelings, frustrations and anger.

Most often people who want to counsel really don’t want to hear the truth, or to even hear the counselor’s opinion, they just want to talk to someone who will listen and then return their self-opinion of what is wrong. That’s all they want.

This is the story of Ahab, King of Israel, who persuades Jehoshaphat, King of Judah to join him in a battle for Ramoth-Gilead. Syria had won this territory from Israel in a battle some three years prior and had occupied it for all that time. Now Ahab wanted it back.

Ahab was the evilest king that Israel ever had.

In the beginning of I Kings chapter 21 we can read the story of how that he wanted to purchase or trade a vineyard from Nabaoth that was adjacent to the king’s palace.

When Nabaoth refused to trade or sell the land of his ancestors, Ahab went into his room, crying, pouting, lying across his bed, refused to eat like a spoiled brat.

His wife Jezebel came in and made matters worse by plotting to get the vineyard for nothing. She sent word to all the nobles in the city to call a fast and to place Nabaoth in a high position among the nobles. Then she had hired two “sons of belial” or sons of the devil, to falsely accuse Nabaoth of blasphemy against God.

Nabaoth was stoned to death and the king took the vineyard by default.

In 1 Kings 21:25 we read God’s opinion of the character of Ahab, “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”

Just to make a quick point here, I know that Ahab had to answer for his own evil heart, and he really had no one to blame for his idolatry than himself.

He could have chosen to not listen to Jezebel. But I wonder if he would have been a better king if he had not married an idolatrous and evil plotting queen?

She certainly pressed him on to disobey God and fall deeper into sin. Jezebel was a heathen princess, beautiful to look upon, but with a heart of malicious sin!

I wonder about Ahab since he does repent at one point because he recognized the judgment of God that was to come but Jezebel wouldn’t allow that to happen for long.

Throughout his reign as King, Ahab had been held accountable to his evil deeds by the prophets of God who dared stand up to him.

One of those prophets was Micaiah.

Micaiah was well known in the court of Ahab because Micaiah had come time and again to warn Ahab of the consequences of his evil deeds. Ahab dreaded the appearance of Micaiah, yet he knew that he could not kill Micaiah or face the wrath of the people of Israel who had confidence in the prophet.

Now Ahab’s heart was set for war to regain his lost territory and to regain his prestige in the land of Israel. No king would sit for long without attempting to win back that which was taken from him in battle and Ahab was no different.

Ahab, evil though he was, still understood that Israel needed to think that the Lord God was with them before they went into battle, so he called for 400 “prophets” to come and prophesy for his coming victory over Syria.

These so called “prophets” were nothing more than “yes men” or false prophets who ticked the ears of Ahab and always had good things to say to him.

After all, that was exactly what Ahab wanted to hear and they were no fools.

If Ahab didn’t like your prophecy, he could, without a second thought, or fear of recrimination, simply put you to death. As a result of this threat hanging over them, they told Ahab exactly what they thought Ahab would want to hear.

Have you ever felt that you needed an answer from God concerning anything in your life, but you were afraid of what the answer would be?

It’s far more pleasant to have someone say something good about your life than to hear the truth.

In fact, we often go to great lengths so that we don’t have to hear the truth. We will choose to talk to and listen to only those who we already know will agree with us. We avoid anyone who may want to disagree with us like a plague.

We don’t want to really know the truth. We just want someone else to just agree with us and put a stamp of approval on what we wanted in the first place.

It is as though their agreement with us gives us a false sense of being right and we rush headlong into disobedience of the Word of God.

All 400 of these false prophets and “yes men” prophesied good things to Ahab.

They foretold of great victories, of the coming glory to Ahab and Jehoshaphat in the war just ahead, but Jehoshaphat wasn’t satisfied with their prophesying.

Something just seemed to be wrong. It was as though all of these 400 men had planned in advance to all say exactly the same thing much as a bunch of parrots.

Ahab was content to hear what he wanted to hear and didn’t care if it were true or not. Either that or he just disregarded anything disagreeable that anyone had said and decided to do what he wanted no matter what the prophets foretold.

But Jehoshaphat still feared God and asked if there were any prophets in Israel who were not “yes men” to the king? Was there one man, in all of Israel, who would truthfully give the Word of the Lord without fear of Ahab’s revenge?

Sometimes we have to stand alone in our faith in God. Remember this: that God alone makes a majority and it’s always best to be on his team regardless of how many people raise up, shout, disagree or stand against you and persecute you.

Matthew 10:28 says it another way,

“… fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Just think about it.

Even if we lose the battle of “political correctness” and “theological semantics” with men, we still win with God as long as we speak all truth from God’s Word.

Ahab was so determined to do his own will and to hear nothing but positive things that he did his best to keep any negative prophet from coming into his court but now he had no choice for he knew that Jehosphaphat would not join him in the battle unless a true prophet of God were brought forth.

Ahab hated Micaiah! He despised this true man of God. Ahab is like so many in our churches today who would rather believe a lie than to hear the truth.

Speaking of the last days and the coming of the man called the “Antichrist,” Paul had this to say about the hearts of the people who were on the face of the earth at that time, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Right now, the only thing that keeps Satan at bay is the Holy Spirit operating through the church as a watchdog against Satan’s evils.

Matthew 24:36-41 NIV

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, [a] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

What do you think will happen when the true church, the Body of Christ, is taken away in the rapture?

I shudder to think of the flood of evil, sin and great debauchery that will cover the earth to an even greater depth than the flood of water in Noah’s day.

Yes, Jesus said, just as it was in the days of Noah, evil will abound, and the heart of man will be deceived into believing a lie from the devil that will end in man’s eternal damnation.

As we can see that spirit of the antichrist was already living in the heart of Ahab and he loved the lies more than the truth.

It would eventually bring destruction upon him and his household.

It was foretold in I Kings chapter 21 that anyone of Ahab’s house who died in the city would be eaten by the dogs and anyone who died outside of the city would be eaten by the fowls of the air, and that Ahab’s own blood would be licked from the city streets by dogs.

The fearsome news of these prophecies had actually brought Ahab to a place of repentance for a while, but his repentance was short lived. As soon as the shock had passed and he had time to forget about it, he was back to business as usual.

Ahab warned Jehoshaphat that Micaiah would have nothing good to say.

Ahab had never heard one prophetic utterance from the mouth of this prophet to encourage him in doing what Ahab wanted to do.

Ahab never realized that the reason he never heard any good thing is that he was continuing to walk in disobedience to God. How could he expect to hear anything good when all he did was evil in the sight of God?

There are many in the church today who say preachers who preach full gospel messages of impending judgment from God are just negative individuals who should be disregarded or even silenced so that peace could reign.

Most people don’t want to hear the truth. They love to hear teaching of love, mercy, grace and they praise those voices that foretell those better times are soon coming and that man will ultimately usher in his own age of peace and prosperity.

The truth is this – They simply don’t want to hear the full truth.

What they fail to understand is that it is only those preachers who are telling the truth. All others are false prophets who have the spirit of antichrist to deceive as many as possible into believing their lies.

There are multitudes of “ministers” who claim to be God’s messengers to the church who refuse to even admit that judgment is coming.

Their message of peace and prosperity is very easy to swallow but leads to a complacent, weak, even dead church that will face eternity without God.

It is God’s “very toughest” expressions of love, mercy and grace that allows his true ministers to speak the truth of the coming judgment so that perhaps some will come to God in true repentance through the true preaching of the gospel.

Ahab sent a messenger to get Micaiah.

This messenger was convinced that Ahab was the one to follow.

I read this passage over and over again and I cannot help but wonder if he really genuinely understood where Ahab was leading him?

Like so many so-called “Good Sunday Christians” in our modern-day church, he was only faithfully going to go so far following the orders of the king (the preacher) and didn’t question whether he was really in the will of God or not.

In fact, he copied his leaders thoughts, actions and mannerisms and even attempted to stop trouble by asking Micaiah to say the same things that the other 400 prophets said so that there would be no trouble.

Are we aware enough to know that by our selective hearing, sometimes the lie of the “sons of belial” comes from the lips of those who we think are spiritually minded? If we are not very careful, we can also be one of those used to hinder or even stop the flow of the Holy Spirit and spread the lies of Satan to stop the truth from being told?

Micaiah came into the court of Ahab, with Jehoshaphat listening, and began to say the same thing that all of the other prophets had said. He “prophesied” of great victory for Ahab against Syria.

But Ahab believed he knew, in his heart, that Micaiah was just mocking him.

1 Kings 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?”

Even in his sinful condition Ahab knew the difference between the truth and a lie. “All right, quit mocking, and tell me the truth. I know you have something negative to say, so just get it over with,” was the attitude of Ahab as he spoke to Micaiah.

The world knows the difference between the truth and the lie. So does every member of the church. The Holy Spirit will ever be a reminder of what is truth and what is not. Even when we refuse the listen and obey the truth, we will still know when we are in disobedience.

We can harden our hearts, refuse to repent, and continue in sin but our own heart will condemn us because God won’t let us forget what the truth is.

No man will have an excuse when we stand before God in judgment. Every man will know exactly where he stands before he ever faces God.

We can keep on practicing Selective Hearing but that will be no excuse for living in disobedience to God’s Word. Ignorance of the Law is no excuse in the courts of man and it will be no excuse in the court of the Lord God either.

Now the truth was said as God directed Micaiah – Ahab would be defeated, and the people of Israel would be scattered as though they had no shepherd.

What was Ahab’s reaction? 

1 Kings 22:16, … Ahab looked over at Jehoshaphat in total disgust and said something like this (just like our modern thinking), “Didn’t I tell you? He never has a good prophecy for me! Everything he tells me is nothing but bad news!”

“That’s why I didn’t want to call him in the first place! Now look at what you have forced me to do. I didn’t want to hear any negative! All I ever wanted was positive talk! Now it’s going to take me all day to get that negative thought out of my mind! These just ruins everything!”

You have to have Father, Son and Holy Spirit positive thoughts, picture their victory in your mind, write good slogans all over the refrigerator, the mirrors in the dressing room and everywhere to get the right results, not hear and listen to some negative old prophet with a message of repentance and acknowledgment God’s truth isn’t always going to be the palatable to eat and pleasant to hear.

It’s not always sweet to taste and easy to swallow. Sometimes it’s downright the most bitter food to take into our mouths. But, like a bad tasting medicine that helps us to heal, if the truth of God is heard and obeyed it brings healing to our souls, healing to our land and life that is more abundant and eternal.

One of the saddest parts of this whole scenario is that King Jehoshaphat was also fooled and became an unwitting part of Ahab’s disobedience.

Here was a king who was attempting to live in God’s will. He had every solid appearance of being a good king except for one all important things. He didn’t remove the idols from Judah that were already there when he became king.

Because he was used to compromising, it was easy for him to be led astray by Ahab. When the battle started, he was chased from the battlefield by the Syrians who thought that he was Ahab.

Meanwhile, Ahab disguised himself so that he would be harder to find and kill.

How many ministers do we know which have disguised themselves and have gone into deep hiding or have simply blended in with the rest of their misled congregations? They have trapped themselves and others by their own lies.

You can’t hide from God (Psalm 139). His judgments are sure! Whether you believe them or not, or whether you accept them or not, is immaterial! The fact is that God’s judgments will come, and his perfect will must be accomplished.

How does this prophetic story end? The hidden Ahab was shot by a stray arrow.

One of the Syrian archers just drew back his bow and shot into the air at no specific target. That arrow was like a guided missile, led by the laser sight of God’s own hand of judgment, it struck Ahab right between the shoulder blades.

Ahab died in his chariot. His blood was washed from the chariot at the same spot where Nabaoth died, and the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood from the ground.

God’s judgments are sure!

Ahab died because he had selective hearing! He only heard and wanted to hear those things that he agreed with or that made him feel “theologically” good.

In closing let me say that we cannot afford to have selective hearing any more than Ahab could. We must hear and obey the truth of God’s Word!

There is coming a day of judgment soon. Only those who have opened their ears to hear the truth and have learned to obey God will enter Heaven’s glory. Get rid of your selective hearing and let’s hear the whole counsel of God’s truth.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear God, I desire to do according to your will. I desire to walk in your ways. I desire to have a heart that is more like yours. Lord, I desire this so I can be illuminated in my heart and mind. I pray for this because I want to recognize your word and hear your voice. I do not want to be deceived by preachers and prophets who claim to preach your word but actually are false teachers. I ask that you grant me these desires, oh Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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