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A Prophet’s Head—A Pirate’s Heart

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A Prophet’s Head—A Pirate’s Heart

16 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. 17 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.’”

Jeremiah 23:16-17 (NIV)

Speaking what is false produces an effect in any nation—false hope. The vital connection between a prophet’s message and the morality of a people cannot be overstated. What is conveyed by the man of God is always of vital importance to a people, whether they know it or not.

In Jeremiah’s day, a concerted effort was organized by several prophets to speak lies to the people. They could not champion the truth, for the truth would in turn indict them for their treachery and adultery (v. 14). Their numbers conveyed a unity of message and of thought. Could such a large number of prophets speaking the same word at the same time all be wrong? Their message of peace amounted to little more than presumption because the prophets were speaking visions “from their own mind.” Their minds conceived their message, and their thoughts were in opposition to God’s words for the people. God set Himself against the prophet’s words. The people were instructed “not to listen” to them even as they constantly and confidently prophesied to them.

The prophets’ false message muted the angry tones of God’s wrath and accented only the goodness of God to preserve and protect the nation. Their message shaped the conduct of the people. What they heard, they believed. And as a result, they lived the lie. The people assumed they were secure and safe even as they continued in sin.

Cultivating a national culture without regard for divine wrath as punishment for sin requires a God without power from a prophet without honor before a people without discernment. As it was then, so it is now.

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