Voices Of Dissent
“And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?’ So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’” (1 Kings 22:7, 8)
In spite of some of the risks that Jehoshaphat had taken along the way in his friendship with Ahab, the king of Judah was not willing to go out to battle without first inquiring of Jehovah. And when Ahab expresses his personal hatred and disregard for Jehovah’s prophet, Jehoshaphat quickly reproves his friend.
Oh, that there had been more people in Ahab’s life like Jehoshaphat! No one could have forced Ahab to obey God, but we wonder if things might have turned out differently for the king if he had been willing to let some people into his life who had demonstrated godly wisdom and who were willing to challenge his penchant for presumption. You see, Ahab was used to having people tell him what he wanted to hear - except for those pesky prophets of Jehovah. They never seemed to have anything good to say about Ahab. Of course, Ahab almost always seemed to be disobeying God with all the strength that he could commit toward that end.
We suspect that none who will read this are as foolhardy and stubborn as Ahab proved to be, but we do believe that most of us would rather have people tell us what we want to hear than to be challenged in our thinking. Most of us tend to believe that we have considered all the possible outcomes and our solicitation for the advice of others is sometimes really just a formality. But based on the downfall of Ahab and the fact that godly wisdom was surely available to him, it would seem wise for us to have people in our lives who will challenge us when we are not thinking or behaving correctly.
In fact, it might be a good idea to purposely seek out a dissenting opinion in certain situations. Is a decision that I am seeking to move forward with causing strife in my family or in the local church? Are my brethren approaching me with genuine concern about a course of action that I am taking? Have I recently made some noticeably drastic changes to my personal practices with regard to religion, or otherwise, that concern brethren whose opinions I have respected in the past?
In all such situations, it would be wise to find someone who disagrees with what I am doing or saying and try to figure out why they disagree with me. Not because the consensus of the brotherhood is the standard of truth, but because there shouldn’t be a lot of tension between people who believe the same truth. Tension can be a sign of serious differences in values. The Proverbs often refer to the potential for making a wise decision with the help of “a multitude of counselors”. (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 24:6) For the sake of our own souls and the souls of our brethren, it is worth coming together to compare our practices with the word of God, even if this means that we are proven to be wrong.