Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Behold, the prophets tell them, ‘You will not see the sword, neither will you have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ ”
Then Yahweh said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in my name. I didn’t send them. I didn’t command them. I didn’t speak to them. They prophesy to you a lying vision, divination, and a thing of nothing, and the deceit of their own heart. Therefore Yahweh says concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name, but I didn’t send them, yet they say, ‘Sword and famine will not be in this land.’ Those prophets will be consumed by sword and famine. The people to whom they prophesy will be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword. They will have no one to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, or their daughters, for I will pour their wickedness on them.
“You shall say this word to them:
“ ‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
and let them not cease;
for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach,
with a very grievous wound.
If I go out into the field,
then, behold, the slain with the sword!
If I enter into the city,
then, behold, those who are sick with famine!
For both the prophet and the priest go about in the land,
and have no knowledge.’ ”
Here, Jeremiah brings up to God the fact that prophets in Israel were telling the people that there would be peace and that they would have nothing to worry about. Jeremiah was being opposed by other prophets who were telling the people the exact opposite thing that Jeremiah was. God makes it very clear here what was going on. Those prophets were making things up out of their own imagination. God says that He didn’t send them, command them or speak to them. These were prophets that chose their own career. God didn’t call them. I especially like how God calls their message: “a thing of nothing.” The people were following men who had a completely worthless message! The result was that both these men and the people were going to suffer.
This is a big warning to everyone. Christian leaders need to be hearing from and speaking the word of God. God gets angry with those who just make stuff up that they imagine, but it doesn’t stop there. God also punished those who listened to them. Everyone has a responsibility to look into those who claim to be speaking for God. In our day, we have no excuse. We all have access to the Bible and we can check to see if what is being said lines up with it. God expects us to listen only to the Jeremiahs and not to the false prophets. If we fail at this, there are serious consequences as we read about here. We can count on God to lead us to His true prophets as we carefully consider what the Bible says.