False Prophets Providing False Hope.
“They have done nothing to repair the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the Lord. Instead, they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies!” – Ezekiel 13:5-6 NLT
While the prophets of God were busy telling the people the truth of God – there were plenty of false prophets happy to provide the people with reassuring words and comforting, yet contradictory messages of hope. Rather than tell the people God’s message of warning, they chose to tell them what they wanted to hear. “They were lying prophets who claimed peace would come to Jerusalem when there was no peace” (Ezekiel 13:16 NLT). They were deceiving the people by promoting a false sense of calm and assurance when calamity was right around the corner. They were putting words in God’s mouth, acting as if they were speaking on His behalf, when they hadn’t heard from God at all. And His warning against them was severe. Rather than calling the people to repentance, they were causing the people to reject the call of God to reject their sinful lifestyles and return to Him. But false prophets are not just a thing of the past. They are alive and well today, spreading their man-made messages of hope that fly in the face of God’s Word. There is the popular pastor of a mega-church who has written a book with the reassuring title, Love Wins. In it, he questions the reality of hell and the belief that God would ever send anyone there. He questions everything, leaving his readers with the false assumption that a loving God would never create a place like hell or send anyone there. His version of God is all loving and always provides a way so that every man eventually turns to Him. His book is a confusing, contradiction-filled treatise that paints a rosy and much more attractive image of God than the one we find in Scripture. He plays fast and lose with the Word of God to create his own version of the truth, that is in the end, anything but the truth. He deceives and deludes, crying peace when there is no peace. He gives his readers a false sense of assurance when he should be driving them to God in repentance.
God’s Word can be difficult to understand and even harder to obey. It is not always easy to comprehend how a loving God can come across as so demanding and judgmental. We struggle dealing with the stories in the Old Testament that seem to reveal a God who is quick to anger and not afraid to destroy those who don’t measure up to His high standards. Concepts like hell and judgment seem uncharacteristically unloving and therefore, unacceptable to us. So we try to come up with ways to reject or replace them. We create our own versions of God’s message. We dumb it down, soften it up, make it more palatable, and in the end, spread a false message that is easy on the ears, but deadly. Yes, God is love. But His love does not diminish His holiness. He cannot overlook sin and leave it unpunished. That is why He sent His Son to provide a payment for sin. But if men ignore God’s call to righteousness and the reality of His coming judgment on all mankind, they will reject His offer of salvation through faith in Christ. Men who see no need of salvation because their is no judgment, will see no need of a savior. And there are plenty of false prophets today who are happy to proclaim “God is love” or as they did in the day of Ezekiel, “All is peaceful.” May we never stop speaking the truth of God so that others might receive the grace of God through the free gift of salvation provided by the Son of God.
Father, Your Word is sometimes hard to share and even harder for others to accept. But don’t let us water it down or cover it up. Give us the strength to speak boldly and truthfully Your words and not our own. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men