Psychologists have a term called “cognitive dissonance”—when what a person believes contradicts what they do. For example, a person may say they want to avoid debt, but then apply for a third credit card. The level of dissonance grows when belief and actions are far apart.
Ahab’s heart had been trained by years of idol worship and the influence of his wife, Jezebel. Would he learn from his errors? Sadly, no. His behavior was deeply ingrained and manifested in the way he ran his kingdom.
Three years after his confrontation with God, Ahab started another war, this time to retake the territory Israel had lost to the Syrians. His ally, Jehoshaphat of Judah, advised him to seek God’s counsel (v. 7). Instead, Ahab turned to false prophets. As you would expect, they predicted victory. Their main goal was to find favor with the king.
While Ahab employed hundreds of false prophets, he also kept one true prophet of the Lord on staff! We need to pause here and consider this contradiction. Ahab must have suffered from great cognitive dissonance. On the one hand he worshiped Baal, on the other hand he kept a prophet of God alive.
What could cause him to live in such a contradictory manner? Ahab wanted to have “his cake and eat it too.” The prophets of Baal told him what he wanted to hear, while the prophet of God told him the truth. He did not like that truth. Like a petulant child Ahab declared, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad” (v. 8).
>> It is easy to be shocked by Ahab, but we can act the same way. We say we believe in God but live in disobedience. As a believer, allowing sin in our life conflicts our mind. Consider where you might be trying to have it both ways in your relationship with the Lord.
Lord, are we being doubleminded like Ahab? If our allegiance is not wholly to You, open our eyes to our idolatry so we may repent. You alone are worthy of our devotion.