Jeremiah 23:16-17, 21-22 - Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.'" ... "I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have proclaimed My words to My people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.
Through Jeremiah, God describes a bad situation: there are so-called "prophets" in Israel who are claiming to speak the Word of God, but in reality they are making things up. They are saying what the people want to hear, and those who listen are swallowing every word. If a man is wicked, they flatter him; and if a woman is following her own evil desires, they tell her everything will turn out all right for her. They might as well try to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it!
"So what?" you may be thinking. "That was long ago. We don't have false prophets today, not like that." Don't we? When was the last time you listened to someone on TV or on the internet who was making excuses for doing evil—for harming the poor or ignoring justice or treating the powerless any way we want to—simply because we can?
Or closer to home, what about friends and family who see us doing wrong but refuse to say anything about it—who allow us to go our own way, and even egg us on? Gossip; badmouthing someone who isn't even present; breaking rules because "everybody's doing it," or taunting you, "You're not a prude, are you?" Disrespect for those in authority; a tendency to demonize people who disagree with us; over-indulgence because "I deserve it"; holding grudges and refusing to forgive—we know these things are wrong, and yet we do them—rarely rebuked by the ones who know us best.
But do we do any better? When's the last time we spoke up to prevent someone else falling into sin?It's a mess. We need help. We need someone who can change our stubborn, self-serving hearts into hearts that desire to live by the truth. Who can help us?
Jesus is our help. In a world filled with lies, Jesus is the fresh air of truth. He tells us: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). He urges us, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me," and He promises, "If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Matthew 11:29a, John 8:31-32). This is the reason Jesus came: He says, "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice" (John 18:37b).
We know Jesus is trustworthy, because He has laid down His own life for us, to save us. He will never lie to us. He will never flatter us or encourage us to keep going when we are on a dangerous road. Let us put our trust in Him and listen eagerly to His word—the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (see James 1:21).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach us by Your Holy Spirit to trust in Jesus who always speaks the truth in love. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What's your typical reaction in a group setting when something gets said about someone else that sounds unfair or hurtful?
2. Apparently, there were fast talkers even way back when. How do you spot them today?
3. Do you have any safeguards in place to combat the urge to "do your own thing" when someone makes that suggestion?
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