Selective Hearing

2 Chr. 18:7 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favorable about me, but only disaster.” Jehoshaphat said, “Let the king not say such a thing.”


Ahab, the king, only wanted to hear things that made him feel good. The prophets knew this to be true and they valued their own lives, so they refused to tell him anything that he didn’t want to hear. Because of this God knew that Ahab could be easily swayed to become engaged in a war in which he would be defeated. 

Ahab was so consumed with himself and stroking his own ego that he had selective hearing. He only wanted good news and wasn’t willing to accept the reality of life. Ahab knew that there was a prophet who would tell him the truth but he avoided him. 

Micaiah had no personal vendetta against Ahab, he was simply an honest servant of God, and when asked, spoke the truth. So as to avoid any kind of honest or critical prophesy, Ahab avoided Micaiah and chose to listen to those who would tell him what he wanted to hear. 


It’s so easy to be critical of Ahab but I would venture that most of us enjoy hearing good news over bad news. The problem lies in doing this when it comes to our spiritual lives. The only way that we can grow spiritually is to allow God to speak to and work on every facet of our lives. We all have struggles and weaknesses, areas which need to be groomed and cultivated into Christlikeness. Selective hearing means that we only listen to the voice of God when we are being told what we are doing right, not when we need some correction.

Correction is not fun. Just as a young child doesn’t like being told when they have done the wrong thing, we just may throw a little tantrum ourselves when God tries to speak truth to us. (We currently have an almost two-year-old in the house so little tantrums can come almost daily over the most mundane of items) Our granddaughter throws a tantrum not because we are horrible people when we tell her to put on her shoes, but because she wants power and control over her own life. She is testing the boundaries and seeing how much control she may have. When we push back against God, refusing to listen to the correction, we are, in essence, saying that we want control. Actually, we are saying that we know better than God does about what is best for us. We are putting self on the throne of our lives and not God. We want to listen to our voice and not to the voice of God. 

Ministers must be careful not to fall into the trap of preaching what the world wants to hear. Being a minister of the gospel is not about being liked by everyone, but about being a voice that is faithful to revealing Christ. 

Selective hearing, and selective preaching may always be a temptation. God calls us to move from our personal preferences into honest conversation. This may be painful at first, but it will lead us to a place where we can be molded into Christlikeness. Don’t be angry if the preacher touches a nerve, but be grateful that he/she was willing to speak the truth in love. Have an open heart to listen to what God may be saying today, and every day. It will lead us to a place where we can grow and become more like Christ. 


Lord, may my heart be open every day to your teaching, guiding, leading and nudging..  Amen.


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