Day 105: Don’t Listen to Them

Jeremiah 23:16-22

Yahweh of Armies says,
“Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They teach you vanity.
They speak a vision of their own heart,
and not out of the mouth of Yahweh.
They say continually to those who despise me,
‘Yahweh has said, “You will have peace;” ’
and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say,
‘No evil will come on you.’
For who has stood in the council of Yahweh,
that he should perceive and hear his word?
Who has listened to my word, and heard it?
Behold, Yahweh’s storm, his wrath, has gone out.
Yes, a whirling storm:
It will burst on the head of the wicked.
Yahweh’s anger will not return until he has executed,
and until he has performed the intents of his heart.
In the latter days, you will understand it perfectly.
I didn’t send these prophets, yet they ran.
I didn’t speak to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have caused my people to hear my words,
and would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their doings.

It’s very important for all of us to understand that just because someone is a pastor or a Sunday school teacher, or a Bible teacher, doesn’t mean that we should listen to them. This is just one of the places in the Bible where God tells us to not listen to spiritual leadership. This creates a very serious issue for certain religious traditions. There are those who call themselves Christians that teach that their leadership is capable of adding new truth to the Bible and can actually change what it means, but the Bible teaches that individuals like you and I are supposed to be critical of those who speak for God. If we don’t decide for ourselves, how will we separate the ones that God tells us not to listen to from those we should listen to? Back while the Bible was being written, the test was whether or not they could accurately tell the future. Now that we have the Bible all written down, all we have to do is see if the teaching we hear goes against it. It is our responsibility to stop listening to those who do not accurately teach the Bible.

This is also one of the places in the Bible where we learn that God is responsible for tornados and hurricanes. Here He purposefully places them “on the head of the wicked.” This does not mean that only wicked people die in hurricanes! That’s actually an abuse of logic. God didn’t say that storms only affect the wicked. He only said that He does use storms to affect the wicked.

We also learn a bit about the kinds of things that false prophets do here. This is very helpful to us today because it gives us some things to watch out for. One thing it tells us is that they teach empty things that they have made up. If a spiritual leader starts teaching their own opinions instead of the truth in the Bible, that’s a bad sign. Next we learn that they teach those who hate God that everything is going to be fine for them and that they don’t have anything to worry about. They say the same things to those who stubbornly live the way they want to instead of the way God tells them to. They encourage those who keep living in sin by telling them that God isn’t going to punish them. Isn’t that what we are seeing today in many previously Christian cultures. Pastors and teachers are telling those who live lifestyles that the Bible clearly says are wrong, that it’s acceptable to God. There are church denominations that are publicly promoting abortion. They act as if they will never be punished and God tells us here that they most certainly will. Our responsibility is simple. Let’s obey God and stop listening to them.