False Prophecy Being Encouraged Rather than Rebuked
“‘Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.’ But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.’”
2 CHRON 18:12-13
In many churches today people are being taught that “encouragement” is always the right word to give to people. There are even churches that teach people that this is the way to prophesy, and that when “prophesying” over people they should only speak encouragement. My goodness, this is dangerous! This is basically teaching people the very path to prophesy falsely! In addition to this they are taught to take whatever comes into their mind as a word from the Lord. Again, what danger! This is a highway to false prophecy!
Whether we are talking about the issue of prophecy or just the subject of “encouragement” in general, we need to look this issue square on—the pressure we feel under the guise of “love” to be “encouraging” far past where it is biblical. And the fact that we give in to this pressure far too often, failing to realize how if it is contrary to God, then it is evil, regardless of how we might think it to be good (Prov 14:12). Again and again, one thing we most often fail to realize is that it is not only what looks evil in our eyes that is a danger to us, but what we think is good. And here this issue resides, continuing to go unchecked by us.
While I am not denying that encouragement is absolutely needful (1 Thess 5:11), like all good things, we should be careful to follow the Lord in them. The danger is always when we separate anything from the Lord and His rule over it, and rather than allowing Him to dictate what is good and right or evil and wrong, we take these things and dictate whatever we wish about them, outside of God. Some of our greatest deception and sin today is that we think we can get away with doing our own version of “good” all while we rebel against God by the very means of the good we falsely try to take up against Him! Anything that is contrary to God’s will and Word is never good, we are merely blind to how they are evil.
“Encouragement” is one area in which we continually go past the Lord. A great example of love for others being rightly balanced with a regard for God’s Word is when Joseph was in prison and revealed to the cupbearer and baker of Pharaoh that one would live and the other would die. When Joseph came to them in the morning he saw that they were troubled and he asked them what was wrong (Gen 40:6-7). He has a real humble, compassionate, and tender care for these men. And yet in this instance he has two words to give. One was an encouragement—the cupbearer would be restored (Gen 40:13)—and yet the other was a word that the baker would be executed (Gen 40:19). Joseph spoke only what God spoke, and this is the duty of us all: “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.” (2 Chron 18:13)
In the case of 2 Chronicles 18, Ahab desired to go do as he pleased, to go out to a battle and win. The only thing he desired to hear is that he would get his way, his wish, his will. He expected to be told whatever was favorable to him in this, even wishing to be lied to in order to believe it was granted to him by God. What we must realize is this is the heart in all mankind. This is the center of man’s desires. And it is this that which we so often serve. Man always wants to hear a favorable word. “When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable he said to Joseph, ‘I also had a dream…’” (Gen 40:16, emphasis mine) Man believes that this alone is love, compassion, and kindness—to give him his desires. And all too easily we are made servants of man’s evil desires by the very means in which we think we are doing good!
This is why we must speak only that which God speaks, regardless of the displeasure in others. Their displeasure at God’s word reveals this heart of sin; it does not reveal fault with God. Yet we all too easily believe the reverse! Our duty is to speak what He speaks: if God is encouraging—then encourage, but if He is rebuking then we must rebuke. We must not allow our tenderness or ideas for others to ever overrule God’s Word! This is what is shown perfectly in Joseph speaking to these two men; in the case of one he spoke encouragement because that is what God declared (not Joseph), and in the other he spoke death because that is what God declared. We must realize that we are vessels, our duty is to speak God’s word not our own.
The issue often is that we are afraid to rebuke and we think rebuking to be evil and so we’ve over-glorified encouragement as an all inclusive way to walk with the Lord. It isn’t! We need to allow God to define who He is and what He expects. Many people think it’s compassion to get in the way of this, thinking themselves to be some heroic intercessor, in reality, they are trying to tell God how to be moral, thinking themselves to be more merciful, and they are putting themselves in the path of God’s wrath. It’s great arrogance and very wicked.
We need to be very careful with this idea that what comes into our head comes from God. Our minds must be renewed completely (Rom 12:2). We often keep our silly little ideas and yet think they are from God! The only way we come into right conformity to God’s love and compassion is by being renewed by Him by reading His whole Word and prayer, and obedience (Matt 7:24). If we fail to do these then we will continue to be deceived, not by what we think is evil, but by what we think is good! To trust our own minds is foolish! (Prov 28:26)
We must learn to walk by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word, and be very careful to not imagine that our own ideas and feelings are the Holy Spirit. The Word helps us discern rightly in this, seeing that what we walk by is actually of God or not: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Ps 119:9)
It is very common in the world today to walk in idealisms and our feelings, to trust in these things, and so, sadly we will begin to walk in these ways of thinking in regards to loving others or in regards to ourselves. This is the danger of not having our minds renewed, that when we do this we hardly even realize we’re walking in the ideas of the world—instead we actually think they are Christian doctrine. In reality, these efforts to overly encourage often actually develop pride in others, not godliness, and sometimes lead them straight into danger.
October 30, 2020