Whose report will you believe is a question that is as relevant now as it was when it was posed to the Israelites in the wilderness under Moses leadership. There is so much information available in this technological age that we are living in that it can be overwhelming to distinguish the truth from factual manipulation or misinformation. Having the unadulterated truth is always essential to have especially when decisions need to be made regarding the future and the wellbeing of self and others. How then can we determine if the information that we take in is true, accurate and giving us the details we need to use for deciding how to apply that information? Asking critical questions and examining trusted sources is always a great strategy, add to this weighing the information against the Word of God and the truth should become clearer. Self awareness is also key, do you really want to know the truth or do you want to confirm your opinion or suspicion regarding a particular topic? When you get to a place where you really want to know the truth, regardless of whether it supports your ideals or not, then you are ready to receive the truth in its purest form. Another question to consider is: What will you do with the truth once you find it? We unfortunately live in a time where the truth is disregarded willingly under the precept that one has a right to believe what they want, whether it is true or not. The truth becomes subjected to personal acceptance rather than upheld as the standard for all to reference unanimously as a reliable measure of reason.
The Israelites were faced with what should have been an easy transition from the wilderness into the Promised Land and yet because of their acceptance of an evil report, generations that were delivered from the bondage of Egypt were not permitted to enter the Promised Land. They sent 12 spies into Canaan for 40 days, to check out the land (what it had to offer) and to form a battle plan that would help them to conquer the land. All of the spies came back with great excitement about the beauty and abundance in Canaan, but 10 of them discouraged the people telling them that they could never take the land because giants occupied the land. This bad report is a classic mistake that even modern believers still make: considering present circumstances above the promises of God. From the outcome of the account of the Israelites, it is clear that God really wants us to know that this response of trusting our natural senses instead of clinging to His promises as absolute truth is not the way to go. God is faithful and He did keep His promises, however the fulfillment took an additional 40 years to come to pass. This delay did not have to occur at all, if they had just believed God. Believing a bad report is what God Eve and Adam into trouble in the Garden of Eden, and that same test gets presented to us as well.
Micaiah is a prophet that is not often mentioned because it involves the possibility of a supernatural agent at work that is not largely understood. King Ahab despised Micaiah because he never received “good” prophecies from him. Ahab was the type of leader that only would accept what he wanted to hear regardless of the ineffectiveness of his decisions that ultimately resulted from this practice. He was constantly surrounded by false prophets that always told him good things were coming and never held him accountable to the standards that his position was supposed to uphold. While during peaceful times these false predictions didn’t mean much, but when Ahab was deciding whether or not to go to war it proved to be a faulty system. Ahab was told by 400 people that if he went to war that God would help them to win. You know that saying, “well they can’t all be lying…,” well in this case, and many others through out history, they were all lying. The prophet Micaiah revealed to Ahab that all of his advisors had a lying spirit at a very critical point, right before they were supposed to head out for war. Instead of receiving the hard truth and making a better decision, Ahab locked Micaiah up in prison and proceed on with his war plans. Ahab lost his life in that war and put his kingdom at risk. God is not mocked, He honors His Word above His name and is not impressed with human power and influence. God values the truth because He is the truth, so to disregard the truth is to disregard God’s invitation to us to align ourselves with His plans.
What if the misinformation is coming from leadership? Well the Bible can give guidance on this as well. King Jeroboam was the first king of Northern Israel after they split from the tribe of Judah. Out of his fear that if the people went back to Jerusalem to observe high holy days and feasts that they would reunite with Judah and overthrow his monarchy, Jeroboam built temples to Baal and told the people that they were worshipping the true god and that Judah was not. He discouraged them from going to Jerusalem to worship and offered his temples to Baal instead. This deceptive act from the king of Northern Israel caused a great apostasy and was regarded as sin against God. This king led the people who had placed him as leader over them in to a vulnerable place where they were raided by neighboring kingdoms and eventually captured by the Assyrians. The people who accepted Baal worship did not keep the Levitical law and intermarriage with non Jewish people and later were not identified with Israelites at all, they became the Samaritans. Misinformation from one fearful king did irreparable damage to his generation and every generation that followed.
While writing this post, I have to consider the information that I take in, how to respond to it, and what it means in regards to what the Bible says. God still speaks, but our hearing has to be “tuned” to receive truth in order to hear and understand what He is saying. It is undeniably human to want to believe good and hope for the best, God is not against this at all. In Phillipians 4 we are admonished to think on what is true, lovely, and of a good report. However, this does not mean that we ignore the truth and passively respond with inaction. It means that even in challenging circumstances we apply the truth that God is good, He never fails, He works all things together for our good, and that He will never leave or forsake us. Even when we miss it and fall we can hold to the fact that He is a forgiving God who sacrificed His own Son so that He could have a closer relationship with us. We can place our fears, concerns, and plans for the future amidst uncertainty in the hands of the One who wrote the future!
So now it is time for us to decide: Whose report will we believe? My response is like Joshua and Caleb, I will believe the report of the Lord! Just remember those who neglect to decide will have someone else decide for them. God fashioned us with minds so that we could think and reason, to not use this precious gift would be falling short of His loving intent for our lives.
Thank you for reading! As always please share with anyone who may benefit from this message. Also I didn’t include scripture references, so if you have questions about what I wrote feel free to fact check this against the Bible during your personal time of study and reflection.