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Observe Micaiah's honesty and boldness before the Lord. The messenger who fetched him thought to give him friendly council, when he told him, “Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth, let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.”. This was the devil's prompting. But Micaiah stood firm,-he

, said, “As the Lord liveth what the Lord saith unto me that will I speak.”

But next observe Micaiah's peculiar way of forcing conviction of his error on the mind of his royal listener. The king asked him, Shall we go, or shall we not go ? He answered first in the very words of the false prophets, "Go, and prosper, for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king." He seems to have done this with a view to make the king and others present, feel

. strongly how they were only deceiving themselves. Their consciences told them they were wrong, and had not really got God on their side. Micaiah knew well enough that Ahab would not be content with his merely repeating the very same words the false prophets had uttered. Ahab knew their word was not God's word, and that Micaiah had not really as yet given

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out God's word. He appeals to him again therefore : "How many times shall I adjure thee, that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord ?" Then Micaiah tells him the true word of God, which described the scattered state of Israel, and therefore foretold that the battle would go against the kings. “I saw all Israel, scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd; and the Lord said, these have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace.” This was evil to Ahab, for he wanted to go to battle. But it was truth, and that he might more see into the falsity of the prophets of Baal, Micaiah tells him still more of the word of the Lord. He proceeds to describe a wonderful vision, “And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord : I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith ? And he said, I will go forth,

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and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also : go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (ver. 19 to 23.) Here we see God on his throne in the heavens. Hosts of angels and spirits around Him. God asking, who will persuade Abab to go to Ramoth Gilead to fall in battle? A spirit coming forth, and saying, “I will persuade him. I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” God permits it.

Micaiah is smitten and persecuted for this. Imprisonment and the bread of affliction are his lot. But the word of God was not bound. All that he had spoken came to pass. Ahab

. thought to escape by disguising himself

, and not going to battle as a king, but as a private soldier. So foolish was he, and ignorant

Of course his scheme was of no avail. Fall he must if God had said

And though he fell not from being marked for slaughter as a king, he fell by a chance shot, or rather an arrow guided by God. “A certain man drew a bow at a venture, (or in his simplicity,) and smote the king of Israel between the joints of his

of God's power.

80.

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harness :: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand and carry me out of the host, for I am wounded; and the battle increased that day, and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even ; and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot." Then came the proclamation fulfilling the very words of Micaiah, “saying, every man to his city, and every man to his own country." Then too did one soon unconsciously fulfil God's other word, as he washed the royal chariot and the king's armour in the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, “according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.”

From all this we learn some very solemn lessons, besides the important one of the way in which the judgment of God speedily and awfully overtakes the sinner that goeth on in his wickedness. We learn also some thing from this vision of Micaiah as to what passes in heavenly places in the carrying on of the government of this lower world. We learn something of the great power which Satan possesses, and which God permits him to exercise in this world.

The Spirit that stood before God, and offered to go and deceive Ahab by being a lying spirit in the mouth of all his false prophets, this was an evil spirit. This is not the only part of Scripture that tells us Satan is in heavenly places, and often stands before God. In the opening of the book of Job it is said, When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them. So Micaiah saw all the host of heaven standing before the throne of God, and an evil spirit among them. In each case too God converses with the spirit, and permits him to go forth and tempt men. In the one case his servant Job, in the other, the wicked king Ahab.

In the Epistle to the Ephesians St. Paul speaks of the devil, not as some people think of him, as already shut up in the pit of hell, but as “spiritual wickedness in high or heavenly places,” the very same heavenly places where he says Christ is set down at the right hand of God. (See chap. i. ver. 20, and chap. vi. ver. 12.);..,

This is a great' mystery. We shall not understand it in this world. But it is an awful fact. Satan is a bold and sometimes a successful plotter against man, and he is also an "accuser of the brethren." He has legions of evil spirits at his command. He is ever considering his opportunity of tempt

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