II Chronicles 18:1-34
But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there not a prophet of Yahweh whom we can inquire of?"
As Jehoshaphat asks this question, he is surrounded by prophets telling him to attack. He realises in his heart that none of these prophets are really of the Lord. Whenever we commence a venture, our first question should be to inquire of the Lord. The first way we inquire of the Lord, is by searching out his word. Any project that we do should be in conformity with God's word. Secondly, we should search out good advice from Godly men and women, and inquire together of God's will. Jehoshaphat recognised that many of these men, despite being prophets were not truly Godly. God will speak with us, but only as we have learned to obey his word.
Richard Hooker, a prominent theologian of his day laid out some basic rules for us. The first was that we should seek God's word. God's word, where it makes a statement on an issue, is to be obeyed. The Bible is very clear on certain issues. We should obey where the Bible gives a clear word. Where the Bible does not apply direct rules, then we should follow the tradition given by the church in accordance with the dictates of the Bible. Where the Bible and tradition are silent, then we are to us our reason to follow God. Now this has often been referred to as Hooker's three legged stool but this is very much a misnomer. Three legged stool implies that Scripture, Tradition and Reason are equal, but this is not at all what Hooker said or implied. There is a very clear hierarchy, Scripture is most important, Reason is the least, and we only use reason where scripture and tradition are silent, and only in line with what the two suggest.
For example in modern times, some churches wish to put the three on equal footing, and use reason to trump the Bible. Some people will tell us that homosexual is a natural thing and some people are born homosexuals, so we should permit homoerotic behaviour and permit active homosexuals to be clergy. Instead we look at scripture which tells us that homosexuality is wrong period. We allow our reason where scripture is silent, but again in accordance with precepts laid down by the Bible.
But we find out something else about God's ways in this lesson. God's ways are not our ways, and no matter what we try to do we cannot outsmart him. God sent lying prophets to lure Ahab to his death. Ahab must of had some kind of premonition that this might be true, so he disguises himself. At first the enemy concentrates on the king of Judah thinking he is Ahab, but they realise their mistake. An archer though, drawing his bow in random strikes down Ahab. God's will will be fulfilled, no matter what we do. The only way to escape is to repent, which Ahab did not seem to be inclined to do.
Let us then learn to obey God in his word, and following the traditions of the church, and obeying him with heart and mind and strength. He will then give us the wisdom to follow him truly where the Bible and tradition are silent.
Mar Michael Abportus, OSL