Today you should read: Jeremiah 23:9-40
There is almost nothing more heartbreaking then the moment where you find out that the person you’re supposed to trust the most lies to you. Whether it’s a spouse, parent or a pastor, it always hurts and it always produces a harvest of consequences. In today’s section of Scripture we read about a similar trust that is broken by the prophets of Israel, the very people who were supposed to be advocates of truth and God’s Will.
This, of course, devastates Jeremiah, just as it devastates a wife who finds out that her husband has been leading a secret life or a child when his parent lies to him. Jeremiah mentions how his heart is broken; his bones are shaken and he feels somewhat drunk (staggering in response) because of the current state of evil and sin in Israel and especially among the people leading them (v.9-11). He then prophesies the false prophets’ judgment (v. 12-15).
God warns the people of the lying prophets’ vain hopes and visions when they prophesy rainbows and candy for God’s people (because who really wants to give the bad news to the people, even if it’s the truth and right thing to do?) instead of the gloom and doom that Judah and Israel will face. God then shares that if they were really in His presence and truly heard from Him, they couldn’t help but share the truth in their prophecies (v. 22). This is certainly just as true for us today, as many of us fake God’s work in our lives or give “false spiritual answers” to the people who disciple us or hold us accountable when in reality if we heard from God, we can’t help but share it with others and live it out instead of having to pretend before others. God then shares how He is now against, not for, these hypocrites (v. 30-32) and how they will be the burden of the Lord for preaching false messages from God proclaiming it was a “burden from the Lord” (v. 33-40).
God does not mess around with those who are given authority over others to tell His truth. This should be a sober reminder for anyone in that position whether it’s in marriage, as parents, in some type of leadership position and especially within the church. I’ve been reading a book entitled “Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry” by Biblical Counselor, Paul David Tripp and I have to admit, that the first 1/3 of the book is quite discouraging when it indicates that many pastors seem to live double lives. Certainly not on the scale of the prophets during Jeremiah’s time, but it’s still a good reminder of what’s to come if we start “faking” God’s work in ministry.
So are we blind to any integrity issues in our life like the false prophets were? Is God extending His grace to us with anything we may be lying about by showing us the consequences from those lies? Does the Gospel not speak truth into our world full of lies and do we not have the power to live grace-filled lives that represents God’s truth and integrity?
Posted by: Erik Koliser