What do you think of yes men? Almost everybody has known one or two, if not personally, certainly in the media. Yes men are an essential for egomaniacs. They are needed to sustain the mistaken concepts that such mental aberrations demand. Yes men are not an invention of the twentieth century; they have been around almost as long as time itself. Today's message will begin with some yes men and then proceed with a quick overview of a few others in the Scriptures. Finally, we will examine the cost of listening to the counsel of yes men.

While Israel was in Egyptian captivity, “...The LORD spoke to Moses, 'Say to Aaron, “Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.'” And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this. (Exodus 7.19-23). The magicians were professional yes men; Pharaoh paid them well to bolster his own self image.

A few hundred years later, another event calls for our our attention. “Then it came to pass, in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel [Ahab]. And the king of Israel said to his servants, 'Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, but we hesitate to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?' So he said to Jehoshaphat, 'Will you go with me to fight at Ramoth Gilead?' Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, 'I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.' Also Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, 'Please inquire for the word of the LORD today.' Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, 'Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to fight, or shall I refrain?' So they said, 'Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king.'” (1 Kings 22.2-6). The four hundred men who gave the king counsel were lying; their prophecies were feigned, and their hearts were set on pleasing their earthly boss, not God. Listening to these hirelings cost Ahab his life; he listened to his yes men and died in the battle that they told him he would win!

Briefly, the last yes man to be considered is Pilate. Jesus was brought before this powerful governor just moments before His crucifixion. Pilate had the power to release Jesus. Rather, Pilate questioned Him (including the inhumane act of scourging; John 19.1), stated that he found no fault in Him (John 19.4), and then delivered Him to be crucified (John 19.16). In an act of cowardice that only yes men can stomach, Pilate “...washed his hands before the multitude, saying, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.'” (Matthew 27.24).

Pharaoh listened to yes men and delayed releasing the Israelites. Ahab listened to yes men and died as a result. Pilate listened to yes men and maintained his seat of power. The cost of listening to yes men is not always meted out in this life, but it will definitely be exacted in eternity. Saying yes to Jesus is THE way to please God, but it is NOT saying yes in word only (see Matthew 7.21); it is by doing His will!

Questions:

1. How would you define a yes man?

2. What motives drive yes men to act the way they do?

3. What motives prompt some powerful people to have yes men around them?

4. In the context of today's closing statement, what does it mean to say yes to Jesus?