“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.” Numbers 23:19
“The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent.” 1 Samuel 15:29
“Thy word is true from the beginning.” Psalm 119:160
By reading the verses above from the Old Testament one would never say God is a liar.
Scripture teaches that God is truth and cannot lie. One of the Ten Commandments even warns not to lie. (Exodus 20:16) However, in 1 Kings 22 God is mentioned sending a “lying spirit.”Ahab asked Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, to help him in war with Syria to obtain territory of Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat agreed as long as Ahab “inquired for the word of the Lord.” (v. 5) So Ahab rounded up 400 of his prophets and they assured him victory over the Syrians. Jehoshaphat wanted one more prophet’s approval so Ahab enlisted Micaiah – a true prophet of the Lord. He said, “Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” (v. 23)
Wouldn’t the story of Ahab in 1 Kings 22 contradict everything the Bible teaches about God’s truthfulness? Doesn’t this make God a liar and deceiver?
According to Matt Slick, the story of Ahab is an anthropomorphized account of a spiritual reality and shouldn’t be taken literally. On Micaiah’s visions, another writer claims “Visions of the invisible world can only be a sort of parables; revelation, not of the truth as it actually is, but of so much of the truth as can be shown through such a medium. The details of a vision, therefore, cannot safely be pressed, any more than the details of a parable.” Even if this story was used to help bring understanding as to how the spiritual world works, it doesn’t explain how God sent a lying spirit if he wasn’t a liar himself. Why would that detail be used if it didn’t literally happen?
In chapter 1 of Job God is mentioned allowing Satan to tempt Job through physical pain. This shows Satan and his demons were given free will, which they used to rebel and become evil. God did not cause this evil, but allowed it to happen to fulfill His sovereign will. Although God doesn’t wish for anyone to fall into sin, He has an ordained sovereign plan that included Ahab being destroyed by his false prophets who encouraged him to go to war. Just because God sent a lying spirit does not mean God is a liar; He allowed it to happen to fulfill a greater part of His plan. In his book, When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler claims God is not commending lying in this case but rather utilizing it to fulfill His plan. God allowed Ahab to be enticed by evil spirits for His own purposes of justice. This is called God’s permissive will.
Ahab didn’t ask any of God’s true prophets if it was okay to go to war at first and when he did, Micaiah warned him to not fight. He obviously didn’t listen which forced God to use further measures in order to discipline him which eventually leads to his death in war with the Syrians.
The Hebrews “preferred even to attribute calamity to God and so with astounding daring they also explained evil things like false prophecy as instruments used by God for his own purposes” Even though this seems absurd in today’s world, the Hebrews believed in the 100% sovereignty of an omnipotent God. This story of Ahab included in 1 Kings 22 explained that even though God could stop evil spirits he allowed humans to have freewill. If one’s will in their heart was to rebel and seek false prophets he would allow it to teach a lesson.
Ahab didn’t ask any of God’s true prophets if it was okay to go to war at first and when he did, Micaiah warned him. He obviously didn’t listen which forced God to use further measures in order to discipline him which eventually leads to his death in war with the Syrians.