READ : Jeremiah 23:9–22
They speak visions of their own minds, not from the . . . Lord. (v. 16)
Throughout the ages there have been false prophets. In the book of Jeremiah frequent mention is made of the false prophets and the effect they had on the lives of the people. Jeremiah bluntly states that a false prophet fills people’s minds with vain hopes, proclaiming peace and prosperity when clouds of impending national doom are clearly visible on the horizon.
False prophets also did not challenge the people to walk uprightly before God. By silence they apparently winked at the transgressions that were leading the nation into moral bankruptcy. This is not to say that a true prophet preaches only doom and destruction, for the true prophets of Israel also proclaimed the blessing of God upon the faithful.
However, a passage of Scripture such as this does caution us to be careful in our evaluation of the messages we hear proclaimed in the name of God. It does place upon us the responsibility of rejecting messages that do not ring true to God’s Word. The prophets of God always proclaimed a message that related the life of the people to the demands of God’s covenant with them.
False prophets abound in great numbers today. Their words are chosen to entice people to reject faith in God and to replace it with faith in the power of man. Will the lesson of Israel be heard or will it be regarded as merely an irrelevant religious story from the past? (originally published April 16, 1964)
Thank you, God, for the examples given to us in your Word.