Jeremiah 14:14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.”
We sometimes overlook the prevalence of false prophets mentioned in the Bible. Not only do we have Jeremiah and the like dealing with them, Paul, Peter, James and John all talked about them. Since the devil is a liar by nature, he’s going to lie even when it doesn’t seem to make any difference (though it ultimately will). Just because people have impressive, holy-sounding titles doesn’t mean they are submitted and committed to the Lord so as to hear Him accurately and consistently. The thing is, too often we seem to want to be deceived; we want our flesh to be pandered to. God sometimes speaks words of great comfort to us, but He always speaks words of holiness. Preachers who “tickle the ears” (2 Timothy 4:3) without calling to repentance fall into the category of false prophets, because they purport to speak for God. It is evident that they have no fear of God, or they would never do that. Believers need to be careful who they listen to, seeking shepherds who follow the Great Shepherd of the sheep, (Hebrews 13:20) searching the Scriptures themselves to confirm what they are being taught.
When I am a pastor, an “under-shepherd,” myself, I need to pay close attention to this. I have been amazed at men who, for example, are in the wedding business, but their “ordination” was purchased over the Internet. I have been amazed at churches that had all the trappings, but existed to affirm defiance against God. I have been amazed at people who with one breath would proclaim love for God and with the next breath defend their own sin. I have been amazed at people who have “succeeded” in the “religion business” while focusing entirely on man instead of on God. Such things are all tragic. That said, I am not to spend my time analyzing, much less judging, other ministries. I am to be discerning so that I won’t be led astray and I am to be faithful in proclaiming the Word the Lord gives me, raising up spiritual children who likewise will distinguish truth from error by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not to focus on human doctrine but on the truth of the Word, so that Word may have its full work in and through me, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for the glory of God.
Father, as I consider such things, keep me from pride, from thinking I’ve got it together better than anyone else. Help me be humble and quiet before You so as to hear what You are saying and not be distracted by all the noise around me. May I apply everything I hear from You in my own life, not thinking I’m exempt because I’m the preacher. May Your Name be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come, Your will be done, in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!