“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.’ For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord, to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?'”
– Jeremiah 23:16–18
What a warning from God to his people. Telling them not to listen to the prophets who are claiming to speak God’s word when they’ve not stood in the council of the Lord. To see and to hear his word. When they’ve not paid attention to his word and listened. Instead, they’re going out and speaking visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord, saying to those who are disobeying God and despising his word saying, “It’ll be good for you.” And saying to people who are stubbornly following their own hearts, “Nothing bad is going to happen to you.”
Jeremiah 23:16–18 Proclaims God’s Word
We see the same picture in the New Testament. Over and over again, we’re warned against teachers in the church who will pull people away by spreading their thoughts, not by proclaiming God’s word. Oh, make sure that when you are with the church on a Sunday, and you are hearing someone teach, that you are seeing where they are getting this from the word. That you are seeing and hearing the word of God, and that it’s crystal clear.
This is not coming from this person, this is coming from the Lord. This is coming from someone who has been in the council of the Lord, seen and heard his word and is communicating what he has said. We will always be drawn to people who tell us what we want to hear, regardless of whether or not that’s God’s word.
Please Transform Our Thoughts
So we pray, God, help us in all of our lives to stand in your council, and to see and to hear your word, and to live according to it. We pray that you would keep us from seeking out teachers who tell us what our itching ears want to hear, who tell us that it’s okay to walk in disobedience to you and your word, that it’s okay to live and compromise with this world.
God, we pray that you would help us to have humble hearts and open eyes. Open ears to hear exactly what you say, even when it goes against the grain of how we think. God, please transform our thoughts according to your word. Your word is higher than our thoughts are. Your ways are higher than our thoughts are. Please transform us according to your word, and keep us from twisting your word to make it more palatable to us. From ignoring your word and choosing our thoughts and others’ thoughts over it.
Praying for the Tokunoshima People
God, we pray that your word would be supreme and our lives, and our families, and our churches. That your word would spread through us to the nations. God, we pray for the Tokunoshima people, a small group of people on a very remote island in Japan.
God, we pray for the spread of your word to them. That they might hear and see your word, the good news of your love. Help us to value your word in our lives, our families, and our churches. Help us to align our lives around it. To live to spread it right around us and far from us. In Jesus’ name, we pray, according to your word in Jeremiah 23:16–18. Amen.