Intellectual Wellbeing and 1 Kings 22

Reading time: less than three minutes.

Everybody loves a good Jehoshaphat story (almost as much as a good Zerubbabel story!), but there Question_Markjust aren’t that many in the Scriptures.  Besides King Jehoshaphat’s obituary, there’s only one extended story in King’s.  It is, however, an excellent example of intellectual wellbeing.

Jehoshaphat was curious.  He was interested in learning something from someone else, even if his own preconceived notions might be challenged!

For some reason, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, got along well with Ahab, the King of Israel, and that wasn’t supposed to happen.  They discussed an alliance against the king of Aram, and all of the 400 prophets of the north thought it was a good idea.

What follows is one of the great stories from the time of the kings.  Jehoshaphat wasn’t satisfied with the “Yes Men” who told Ahab whatever he wanted to hear.

Listener“Is there not a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?” he asked (1 Kings 22:7).  There was a prophet like that, and Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from him.

Ahab thought it was a bad idea, because Micaiah son of Imlah had a reputation for telling the truth, and Ahab was not big on hearing the truth.  Jehoshaphat persisted, and he’s my poster boy for intellectual wellbeing.  He was curious.

He wanted to learn something from someone new.  Even if it meant the majority opinion and his own opinion might be proven wrong.  That’s curiosity, and it is the cornerstone of intellectual wellbeing.

There’s a little bit of Ahab in each of us.  We all like to surround ourselves with people who tell
us what we want to hear.  Pastors are especially guilty of huddling up close with those who share our opinions.  “Birds of a feather…” and all that.

Jesus constantly confronted the leaders of His day with a drink from a batch of new wine.  The Stop_Listenold wine skins couldn’t hold it.  They were inflexible, stiff and rigid, and the wine skin expanding wisdom and truth shared by Jesus burst open all of their prejudices.

Not everyone in our life bears the wisdom of Jesus.  Some people are just wrong (see Ahab, who, by the way, died in the battle against the King of Aram).  We don’t have to buy in to everything we hear.  My dad used to say, “Some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out.”

But intellectual curiosity is the willingness to listen, to ask questions of people we don’t know or whom we have pre-determined to be wrong.  We might just get a surprise once in a while.

To whom do you listen, accepting all they say as certain and sure?  To whom do you need to listen to a little more?  What person or groups of people has God put in your life from whom you just might learn something new?  Who’s your Prophet Micaiah?

I’d love to hear your story of wisdom coming from a surprising and unexpected place!

Thanks for reading.

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