Truth? Or consequences?
Scripture reading for August 11th: Jeremiah 26-29
It takes discernment to hear the voice of God. What sounds good is not always truth and only the truth will make us free! In Jeremiah 28 we have a story that always makes me stop and consider what I might have done as I listened to these two prophets debate one another. One had a message of victory and hope, and the other a message of judgment and captivity. One message was true and the other was false. God allowed the contest to take place in the temple of the Lord in front of the priests and all the people. After the messages were given, the people had to decide which one to believe. Were they to prepare for captivity or deliverance? Was the message of peace and restoration truth or was the message of judgment and a yoke true? I know which I would have wanted to believe!
In the fifth month of the fourth year of King Zedekiah, all the people were gathered with the priests in the temple. Hananiah, a prophet from Gibeon spoke to Jeremiah in front of all the people. Jeremiah had been wearing a wooden yoke around his neck for a long time telling the people of their coming captivity. Hananiah spoke that within two years, God would remove the yoke of the Babylonians and Judah would be free. To illustrate that message, he took the yoke off Jeremiah and broke it in front of the people. (Jeremiah 28:1-4,10-11)
Jeremiah responded initially with an ‘amen’ to the message. But he added some prophetic insight. Most prophets are sent to warn of coming disaster and turn the people back to God. This prophecy of peace will only be from the Lord if it actually happens. (Jeremiah 28:6-9)
Jeremiah went his way and then the Lord spoke to him to go back with a word for Hananiah. He was to tell Hananiah that he was not sent by the Lord and that his prophecy was not true. God was going to remove the wooden yoke and place an iron yoke on his rebellious people. His final word was that Hananiah would die because he preached rebellion against the Lord.
Wow, what would you have done? Who would you want to believe? Wouldn’t it have been tempting to hate Jeremiah and his message? How would you decide which was true? As we finish reading, the truth becomes apparent. In the seventh month, three months later, Hananiah died! God’s word is always validated because it comes to pass! It took three months of waiting to know, but the truth became evident! Please take time today to thank God for His word and the blessing of knowing the truth. Ask Him for discernment in these last days that you will not be deceived by messages that simply make you feel good but are not of God!