There were the false prophets, saying false things. People turned to them for advice or direction, but were not advised or directed in truth. The Lord called their words lies and whitewash. Women prophets too–he called them false; he said they ensnared. Telling stories for profit, making promises that were never theirs to make.
20 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against all your magic charms, which you use to ensnare my people like birds. I will tear them from your arms, setting my people free like birds set free from a cage. 21 I will tear off the magic veils and save my people from your grasp. They will no longer be your victims. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. (Ezekiel 13:20-22, NLT)
Even leaders–their hearts full of idols. Things embraced that will make them fall into sin.
Then some of the leaders of Israel visited me, and while they were sitting with me, 2 this message came to me from the Lord: 3 “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests? 4 Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. 5 I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’ (Ezekiel 14:1-5, NLT)
The more I read, the more I sit and think longer on these things. Ancient scriptures speak of God–he’s always after our hearts. He doesn’t want us chasing and trusting in lies. He doesn’t want our focus misplaced in selfish pursuits–idols that lead to sin. Not in ancient days. Not today.
Psalm 136 speaks of all God has done and of his faithful love.
Jesus speaks to the leaders of his day, leaders who were offended at Jesus’ work on the Sabbath. Jesus, the perceived rule breaker–who was truly following the rules. He speaks truth.
19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. 21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. 22 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
25 “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26 The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. 27 And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. 28 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, 29 and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. 30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will. (John 5:19-30, NLT)
From pulpit or podium, from congregation or culture, I weigh words against God’s word.
Lord, I pray that you would give me wisdom, that you would direct my path and give me clarity in decisions. I pray that your voice is the one I’d hear and follow, not my own, not someone else’s. Thank you, that you speak truth, for your great love, and for your faithfulness.