September 28, 2011

BIBLE READING PLAN: Jeremiah 22-25


““Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes.  They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.  They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”  Jeremiah 23:16-17 


Every one of us is bombarded by individuals wanting to draw our attention.  The number of books, articles, podcasts, and videos that are on the market for our consumption is mind boggling.  Every week I get at least a dozen recommendations of things I just have to read or listen to.  I never make it through all of them.

That leaves me with a predicament of trying to determine who I should listen to.  It can be very difficult to know who we should listen to.  Who can you trust?  Can you rely upon credentials?   Can you rely upon mass public support? Is it even something to worry about? 

I am amazed at how often people will continue to listen to or read books by people who are clearly off-base, much less those who make you go “hmmm”.  The response is often along the lines of “I don’t agree with them on this point but they have so much other good stuff to say.”  It takes some discernment to identify the principles upon which believers in Christ can agree to disagree upon and those principles that are non-negotiable.

This passage presents one of those principles.  God tells us clearly that we are not to listen to a specific type of prophet (teacher).  This is an individual that we should remove from our podcast subscriptions; we should throw this individual’s books away; this is an individual whose teaching we are warned that we should not sit under.  The individuals that we are warned about are the ones who “fill us with vain hopes” and the ones who do not tell sinners about the disaster that is going to befall them. 

Those are two categories that should be pretty easy in identifying those who we should not be listening to. 

  • If you hear a teacher that encourages you to place your hope in the prosperity of this world, then you should stop listening to them. 
  • If you hear a teacher that teaches you that hell is not a consequence of sin then you should stop listening to them. 
  • If a teacher never preaches the repentance from sin then you should stop listening to them.

The reality is that there are consequences to stubbornly following our own heart.  A false prophet is the one who refuses to acknowledge and teach that reality.  We are to stop listening to them and STOP means STOP.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the warning of following my own heart; thank you for the warning that there will be teachers that will falsely teach me that my vain hopes are good and there is no consequence to my sin.  Lord, may I never be such a teacher.  Lord, continue to change my heart to desire to follow you.        Amen

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