Don’t Skip This Step

20111126-080756.jpgThe twenty-third chapter of Jeremiah contains a warning to all the false prophets in Judah at the time of Jeremiah. It is a withering reproach to those who behave as if they speak on the Lord’s behalf, but who actually have no connection with Him. What is the chief failing of these men?

‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?”‘Jeremiah 23:16-18

It seems that these false prophets are quick to give advice and to say “Peace” to their followers, but the number one thing they lack…is that they never consulted the Lord on the matters at hand. Instead of listening to the people’s burdens, and then turning to God for help, they skipped that step and went right to the advice that came from their own lips. Indeed, Jeremiah spells this out even more clearly at a later point in the chapter.

But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the LORD’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.Jeremiah 23:36

Does this in any way apply to us today? I think so. It is tempting to think we know enough of the Bible, or have had enough of life’s experiences that we can listen to others problems, and immediately dispense solutions from experience, or from what sounds good to us. But, it seems to me that in all circumstances we ought to take the issue before God in prayer – and seek His counsel first. Otherwise, our own word will become our own oracle, and we will forget about God, exactly as was done by the prophets in Judah. This is a good lesson for me personally. Rather than constantly thinking I must add to my own wisdom, so that I can somehow take God’s place, everything should start with a turning to God in prayer.


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