How do you think Jeremiah felt when talking about his fellow prophets in such a way? Do you think he was glad God exposed their sinfulness? Do you think he feared for his life for saying such things?
In our recent readings, we have seen the focus on the corrupt kings and their role in the demise of God’s people in Judah. Here, we see there are other players “getting their hands dirty.” “For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets that wickedness has filled this land.” That’s a bold statement to be sure!
As children, we are taught to respect and trust our authority figures, which would have included the prophets, priests, and kings. If the same was true back in Jeremiah’s day, then it makes sense why the people were so distanced from God. Hopefully the people will hear God’s message warning them of the dangers surrounding them. “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes.”
God helps us see how we can discern whether we’re dealing with false prophets or men of God. False prophets are those individuals who support and endorse public policy that violates God’s covenant. If that is the “litmus test” we use when looking at preachers and prophets of today, it should be easier to spot how their own agendas drive people away from the truth of God’s word.
This is our reminder to be careful. Some of our present-day prophets will claim they are speaking for God when they are getting messages from other sources or simply manufacturing a story that aligns with their rhetoric. The deception may even be unintentional. That’s why it’s so important for us to be grounded in God’s word so we can know when what we’re hearing is contrary to Scripture.
Was there anything that surprised you or challenged you in today’s reading? What do you think about God’s response to the behaviors of these prophets and leaders? I’m curious about the motivation underlying their deceitful practices. What possible gain or reward would there be for this dishonesty about God?
Did they not think through the consequences of using God’s name to give credit for their own imagination? God’s response to them was a wake-up call. “I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.”
I certainly would not want to do something that would cause me to be forgotten by God. God’s mercy and grace are too precious. Psalm 115:12 says, “The Lord remembers us and will bless us.” Hebrews 6:10 says, “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” Working for God is what we should be focusing on. We have all been given the mission to share his love with the world.
Take some time today to think through how you are doing on your mission to share Christ.
Let’s pray … Lord, your mercy and grace are available for me, and I thank you. While I don’t feel called as your prophet, I do feel your call on me to share your love and tell people how your word is full of messages of love, peace, and direction for our lives. Thank you for these gifts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.