I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. – Jeremiah 23:25-28
I came across this passage this past week, and in light of the political unrest and civil strife, I thought it could help everyone.
God’s Old Testament people were headed down a path to destruction. Their kings and priests had led them into idolatry and immorality. They had tossed aside God’s will for their lives in favor of sinful lifestyles that brought them temporary happiness and pleasure. As God witnessed such rebellion, he was not pleased. Yet, because he loved his people and did not want to see them destroyed because of their sin, God sent them a prophet – Jeremiah – to warn them. Jeremiah pleaded with the people on God’s behalf to once again follow God and his will; to turn from their evil ways and live.
Such words of warning were not easy for God’s people to hear. In fact, they eventually closed their ears to them in favor of more pleasing messages from false prophets – liars who told the people, “Don’t listen to Jeremiah. Keep living as you are. You are God’s chosen people, after all! Everything will be just fine!”
It was such false prophets that incited the Lord to speak the words before us today. With these words, the Lord makes it very clear that such false messengers and their messages will not be tolerated. Only his Word and those who speak it faithfully will.
What false messages are out there in our world today? Do any of these sound familiar? “The Bible’s rules for holy living are ancient and outdated. They don’t apply to us anymore!” Or, “All roads lead to heaven, so it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something!” Or, “Don’t worry about committing little sins. You are God’s people, after all! He will look the other way.”
All of those messages are prevalent in our society today, and they all have something in common: They are lies. The truth, however, comes from God and can be found only in his Word. In his Word we are rightfully confronted with our sin. In his Word we are led to acknowledge our sinfulness. In his Word we are told of our Savior, who suffered the punishment for our sins in our place. In his Word we are led to trust that our sins truly are forgiven and that we will live forever through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say, then, other than to echo what our God says through Jeremiah: “Let the one who has my word speak it faithfully.” For God’s Word is truth, and through it we have eternal life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, your Word is truth, and in it you show us the path to life. Send your Holy Spirit into our hearts today so that we may love and understand your message. Amen.