“Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination whenever you have said, ‘declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”
– Ezekiel 13:7
This is an indictment in Ezekiel 13 on prophets and leaders, people among God’s people who have said, “This is what God is saying,” when God has not said that.
You keep reading on later in the chapter, and verses 22 and 23 basically describe how those who were doing righteous deeds were being spoken against, and those who were doing wicked deeds were being encouraged. Basically, people were claiming to proclaim God’s Word when they were not proclaiming God’s Word.
Is that possible today? Is it possible for leaders in churches to lead God’s people not according to God’s Word? Or is it possible for any one of us to hold back God’s Word when God is calling us to warn someone about sin, or to hold back God’s Word when God is calling us to encourage someone in righteousness?
Ezekiel 13:17 Leads Us to Hear the Word of God
The picture of the prophet was, in a sense, very simple in the Old Testament. Hear the Word of God and proclaim the Word of God. And followers of Jesus today are not necessarily prophets in every way that people were in the Old Testament. At the same time, we have been given the same responsibility, certainly as leaders in the church. So I’m actually preaching on this, this Sunday, that the church is grounded on Biblical teaching and preaching, that my responsibility as a pastor is to show that everything I’m saying is coming from God in his Word, and I know that I will be held accountable for that.
At the same time, we all have the Word of God. We all have opportunities today to speak the Word of God into others’ lives. So let’s make sure we’re doing so faithfully, whether as leaders in the church or as followers of Jesus, building up the church and leading people to Jesus. God, help us all to faithfully share, proclaim, declare your Word. God, I pray for every leader in the church who’s listening to this, even as I pray for my own life. Please help us to not stand up and say, “Thus says the Lord,” when we are saying what you have not said. God, please help me, please help us, please help every pastor to lead your church based on your Word.
Ezekiel 13:17 Calls Us to Faithfully Share the Gospel
And God, we pray for each of our lives, as we hear your Word even right now, God, that you would help us to be faithful, to share it with others, to warn others in the middle of sin and wickedness, to encourage others in righteousness. God, we pray that you would help us to do that today and tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Help us to be faithful proclaimers, declarers, spreaders of your Word.
Praying for the Mon People of Myanmar
And God, we pray, as we often do on this podcast, specifically for people who have little to no access to your Word right now at all, for the Thai Mon people of Myanmar, almost 5 million of them, just a handful of followers of Jesus among them. We pray that you would bless, strengthen, help those believers, those fledgling churches among the Thai Mon of Myanmar. We pray that you would strengthen them and help them to proclaim and spread your Word. God, we pray that you would send more and more people to the Thai Mon of Myanmar, that they might hear your Word, that they might hear the good news of your love for them in Jesus.
We pray for billions of people in the world who don’t know that good news, who haven’t heard that good news, who don’t have access to it, unreached people. We pray that you would help us to faithfully proclaim your Word to the ends of the earth, to say, “This is what the Lord has said,” and to speak the good news of who you are, what you have done in love for us, how we can be reconciled to you, and how we can experience full abundant life in you.
God, we praise you for your Word, and we pray that you’d help us to faithfully hear it, obey it, and proclaim it, and spread it in each of our lives and in our churches. In Jesus’ name we pray, according to Ezekiel 13:17. Amen.