(Today's post by Chris Queen)
Welcome back to Jeremiah, after digging into the Gospel of Matthew for a few weeks. As we jump back into chapter 27 of Jeremiah’s story, we see where God turned His prophet into a dramatic – and painful – object lesson.
2 This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck. 3 Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them a message for their masters and say, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Tell this to your masters: 5 With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. 6 Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. 7 All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him.
8 “ ‘ “If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the Lord, until I destroy it by his hand.
God gave Jeremiah a stern warning to the people:
9 So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish.
So we see that there were lying prophets simply telling good – but false – news. In chapter 28, we get to meet one of them.
1 In the fifth month of that same year, the fourth year, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people: 2 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the Lord’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon. 4I will also bring back to this place Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and all the other exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’ ”
Jeremiah called Hananiah out on his lies and predicted his death, which happened just a couple of months later.
The lessons here? Sometimes the truth isn’t what we want to hear. Sometimes it’s not good news, but we should always remember that the God of truth has our best interests at heart, even when the circumstances aren’t so fun.
The other lesson is something we’ve talked about before. If someone claims to represent God, we should examine his or her life and compare what he or she has to say with the truth from God’s Word. Don’t just fall for “every wind of teaching” (Ephesians 4:14). Truth will always and only line up with the Word of God – never more, never less.