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We live in a world of a million conflicting voices today. You can be constantly updated with tweets, texts, alerts and notifications. Which voice has authority? Which voice can be trusted?
In Jeremiah 23:9-33, God addresses this issue of these different voices, criticizing those prophets who claim to speak for Him, but really don’t. In 23:1-8“, the Lord called out Judah ’s political leaders; in this section He calls out her spiritual leaders.
Jeremiah began his ministry as the dominant world power, the Assyrians, descended into civil war. As the Assyrians began to lose their power, Babylon and Egypt sought to occupy the power vacuum that the Assyrians would leave. In the midst of this political turmoil the Lord calls Jeremiah. His job is to predict and warn of the coming Babylonian invasion and the restoration that would follow the exile.
The False Prophets
Jer 23:19 “Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, Even a whirling tempest; It will swirl down on the head of the wicked. 20″The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; In the last days you will clearly understand it. 21″I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied. 22″But if they had stood in My council, Then they would have announced My words to My people, And would have turned them back from their evil way And from the evil of their deeds. – Jeremiah 23:9-22
- “Heart” (23:9) refers to min and will, not emotions. The ancient Hebrews considered the heart the seat of the intellect.
- “In My House” (23:11) refers to the temple.
- The false prophets are polluted. They were encouraging inappropriate activity and calling it religion.
- The false prophets are pretending. They claim to speak for the Lord when they are not.
- They promise a false hope. They tell the people exactly what the people want to hear, minimizing sin and maximizing prosperity.
- The Lord takes His people through suffering, not around it.
- “Near gods” were local regional deities that had to be placated to obtain blessing.
- Dreams were considered an inferior means of revelation. None of the Old Testament prophets received revelation from the Lord in a dream.
- The false prophets want to use the Lord for their own purposes, but the Lord cannot be used.
- The Lord is not a regional local deity that be manipulated.
- The Lord’s Word cannot be thwarted.
- Compare with John 10:24-29.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Next: 11 Jeremiah 29:1-14 What’s there to do in Babylon?
Previous: 09 Jeremiah 23:1-8 Who will help us out of this mess?
Series: Questions Jeremiah Answered
Resources: Jeremiah Resources
Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Version of the Bible.
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.