Monday, August 3, 2015
Warning To The Prophets
“Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:9-12)
Jeremiah was so heartbroken as He looked at what the prophets were teaching in Judah, that he felt almost like a person who had been in a serious car accident, shaking and unsure what had really happened. He was aware of the consequences of their actions, because he understood God’s power and the consequences of disobeying him.
As he looked at what was going on, he saw many people involved in sexual sin, totally violating God’s law. He saw a nation struggling to survive because people had no qualms about breaking their contracts or oaths of office, leaving those who trusted them hanging out to dry. As a result they have lost the things that made their land such a pleasant place to live, and the national attitude was moving increasingly to evil. The very people who were supposed to teach the people about God and his word were focused on the things of the world, even bringing the world’s attitudes and practices into the church. They are walking on very slippery slope, and sooner or later they will surely fall because they insist on going that way. They cannot escape God’s judgment.
“And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.” (Jeremiah 23:13-14)
The prophets and preachers in the northern kingdom were actively embracing false religions, absorbing them into the church, and leading God’s people astray. Even more troubling was that in Jerusalem and Judah, who had stayed closer to God and his Word, The prophets and preachers were themselves actively involved in sexual sin and preaching lies, actively supporting and encouraging those who were doing wrong so that they had no incentive to turn from their sin. They are really no different than the people of Sodom or Gomorrah.
“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” (Jeremiah 23:15-17)
God is going to bring Judgment on those prophets because they have spread a carnal, worldly attitude through the land. God advises His people not to listen to them because are actually producing a false pride in their spirituality, telling people what they imagine to be true rather than what God has said. They promise God’s blessings on people who hate God and his standard and promise those who do as they please that they don’t need to be afraid of God’s judgment.
“For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:18-20)
Who has paid attention to God’s Word? Who has acted on his commands and lived according to what he said? Those who have ignored it will be grievously punished because of their disobedience, and nothing will stave off His anger. They will experience fully the consequences of the sin, and at the end of the Tribulation period will understand what God has done.
“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” (Jeremiah 23:21-22)
These prophets and teachers were not called or ordained by god. They have preached solely of their own volition. They didn’t get their messages from God. In spite of that, if they had encouraged the people to do what God said and listen to His Word, people would have turned away from their sin and their evil attitudes. That people haven’t turned from their sin is a clear indication the prophets haven’t taught people to obey God.
While this message was given specifically to the prophets and priests in Jeremiah’s day, I believe it is particularly apropos for the pastors and church leaders of today. I Corinthians 10:11-12 tells us, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Christ’s messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 also support that conclusion.