The Lord of Armies Says...
Book of Jeremiah • Sermon • Submitted
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God’s continues his declaration of the falsehood of the prophets of Israel. He identifies the vanity within their lies. He address the fact that he has not called them, rather they have ran with their own plan and own message on their own terms. What we truly find is a people who are much like the people of the time of the Judges.
6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
God once again, reminds his people to follow him and not the vanity of the their own imaginations, plans, or the plans of false prophets.
16 This is what the Lord of armies says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They tell a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace” ’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Disaster will not come on you.’ 18 “But who has stood in the council of the Lord, That he should see and hear His word? Who has paid attention to His word and listened? 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.
As we look at our text, we find three characteristics of the false prophets of Israel and God’s coming judgment that is certain to be fulfilled. Let us first look at the three characteristics of the false prophets that is pointed out by God.
Three Characteristics of the False Prophets
Their messages were not from God (vv.16,18,21)
God, Himself, calls the people of Israel to disregard the words of the prophets (v.16)
God states that the words of the prophets are worthless and they in turn make the efforts of the people worthless - ‘…they are leading you into futility...’
God goes a step further and declares to the people that the words brought forth by the prophets of Israel are from their own intellect and wisdom, not His heart or his wisdom or his plan - ‘...they tell a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD...’
God, Himself, reminds the people, no one knows the heart of God without God revealing it to them (v.18)
God poses the question, Who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, to the people of Israel. He is asking, who has consulted me on what I want and what word I wish to be declared?
In conjunction with this question, he poses a second question, that he should see and hear his word, that is listen, considered, and acted upon this word?
The answer to both of these of questions is, not the prophets. This was the point that God was trying to drive home to the people.
We, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, are able to perceive the thoughts and will of God for our lives. The apostle Paul states this in his letter to the church at Corinth
11 For who among people knows the thoughts of a person except the spirit of the person that is in him? So also the thoughts of God no one knows, except the Spirit of God.
Paul agains tells us to seek the will of God for our lives, which is good and perfect.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
None of can know the thoughts and heart of God or what His good and perfect will for our lives is outside of renewing our mind and bringing every thought under the captivity of Christ as Paul tells the church at Corinth.
These false prophets were not bringing their thoughts under the captive of God/Christ or seeking God’s heart and desires; they were seeking their own.
God, Himself, reminds the people that the false prophets were not on a mission from Him (v.21)
God states that these prophets were not commissioned by him for any task - ‘…I did not send these prophets, but they ran...’
God states that these prophets were bringing their own message and bringing divisiveness. The division was between God and His people for them following a message that was not His - ‘…I did not speak to them, but they prophesied...’
Not only was the message of the false prophets not from God, but they gave false assurances to the people.
They gave false assurance to the people (vv.16-17)
The false prophets were leading the people down a path of vanity - ‘…they are leading you into futility...’
The false prophets were leading people to follow their own ways rather than the ways of God - ‘…as for everyone who walks in this stubbornness of his own heart...’
We are called to call people to repentance. To show people the error of their ways and to change not encourage them to remain or grow in those errors. As a minister, I’m called to preach repentance. I’m called to be a watchman.
11 Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure at all in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then should you die, house of Israel?’
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The false prophets, through their spreading false assurances, was declaring a war with God
5 This is what the Lord says concerning the prophets who lead my people astray: When they have something to bite with their teeth, They cry out, “Peace!” But against him who puts nothing in their mouths They declare holy war.
The false prophets were not from God, were declaring false assurance to the people, and finally, they did not turn people from their evil ways.
They did not turn people from their evil ways (v.22)
God declares to the people that it was apparent that the false prophets had not been in his audience - ‘…But if they had stood in My council...’
It is obvious when someone is sent from God with a message from God. There is a difference in the spirit of that person. There is a reason why we find the call to test the spirits. There is a reason why Jesus states to his disciples, you will know them by their fruits.
I have been hours from home at a restaurant or a grocery store even, and have people come up to me out of the blue and make a comment like, you are a preacher, aren’t you? Or you are a pastor, aren’t you? It is apparent when one is of God and seeking His will rather than the will of man.
God declares that his message was a message of repentance - ‘…they would have announced My words to my people, and would have turn them back from their evil way and their evil deeds...’
Because these false prophets were not sent of God, but brought a false message of assurance and encouragement of sin, God was going to bring judgment.
God declared judgment (vv.19-20)
God’s judgment would bring great destruction - ‘…Behold the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest...’
God’s judgment would be against all that rebelled against him - ‘…It will swirl down on the head of the wicked...’
God’s judgment would be without repentance and according to His plan - ‘…The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart...’
God’s judgment would not be realized then, but would be realized later by the people of God
Why would the people not realize why God was judging them in the moment? They had false assurances of God’s protection and grace. It is not that God does not protect or act in mercy and grace. He does. However, God also calls his people to repentance. If God is just in his protection, mercy, and grace, then he is also just in his judgement.
As Dr. Voddie Bauchman said, if God allowed his son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of mankind, do you not think that God will also judge you. The people of Israel, then, realized God’s judgment but only after the fact. I’m afraid that will be the same for the church of God in America. We recognize the judgment of God for our rebellion and sin, but only afterwards.
May we be careful in who we put confidence in. May we be careful in what words we follow. May we do as the Lord tells us to do and test spirits. May we never follow our own ways but the ways of God only. May we repent in the areas that we need repentance in.