Speaking for God, or Not

Jeremiah 23:9-40


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. 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 a 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. 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. 

The False Prophets’ Character 

  • By contrast, Jeremiah was even physically affected by the word of the Lord
  • Adultery (physical and spiritual) prevalent in the land
  • Swearing (falsehood) prevalent
  • As a result, a drought that is “explained away” by the false prophets
  • Prophets and priests are profane – polluted (pastors, earlier, are “elders” – civil leaders)
    • They pollute the temple
    • Prophets of Baal led Israel to err in the name of Baal
    • Prophets of Jerusalem led Judah to err in Jehovah’s name
      • Committing adultery
      • A life of lies
      • Supporting evil-doers
    • They had become like people of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Ways = slippery, driven on, fall.
  • God will judge them (vs. 15)

16 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. 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. 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.

The False Prophets’ Message – From Themselves

  • Fills you with fleeting vanity
  • From their own heart – not from Jehovah
  • “Peace,” to those that despise God
  • No judgment for going in your own way
  • They were not sent by God, yet they still prophesied
  • If they were sent by God, they would have warned the people.

The Actual Message

  • If you stood in the counsel of the Lord…
  • A grievous whirlwind is coming (literally or figuratively)
  • The judgment would not stop
  • When it was finally done, then they would know that the prophets were false.

23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

The False Prophets’ Thoughts About God

  • They believed that God was like all the other gods who “were” nearby, but not anywhere else.
  • They created the one true God in their own mind’s image.
    • BUT, God is omnipresent – everywhere
    • God is omniscient – heard what the prophets said
  • Their work would cause the people to forget God
  • Those with God’s actual words would see results
    • The word is a fire
    • The word is a hammer
  • The prophets steal God’s words from the people
    • How?
  • I am against them
    • They steal
    • They say – “he said” — not “thus saith”
    • They are “light” – frivolous

33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house. Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken? And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God. Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken? But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD; Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: and I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

The True Prophets “Burden”

  • Burden = message from the Lord
    • There is no more burden
    • Those with a new burden will be punished
    • The message from the Lord is known — so do it!

Conclusion – Seriousness of Speaking for God (listening to)

  • What is the Word of the Lord?
    • Dreams, visions, fantasies
    • Actual words
  • Speak God’s words
  • Listen for God’s words
  • Many listen for “fantasies, visions, and dreams”

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