Read Jeremiah 23
This is a sobering read. God’s prophets were using their power unjustly, and the God whose words they should be speaking has a broken heart and trembling bones because of their unfaithfulness (23:9,10). These prophets are speaking grand words among their friends (23:25,35,36). It’s funny how the words they had crafted for the ears of people, prophecies they had staked their future, are nothing more than delusions (23:26). Who would work so hard for a delusion?Why invest so much energy in a vapour?
Is this the cult of personality? Popularity’s trap? It’s an easy one to fall into. Any preacher or leader knows how good it is to feel words like ‘wonderful message, great sermon, terrific decision’ slap us on the back. It can have us chasing the affirmation, intoxicated by the stream of positive strokes. It’s easy, isn’t it, to seek endorsement of people instead of following God and saying what he wants us to say.
I don’t think anyone rolls out of bed one morning saying, ‘I think today I’m going to start to be a lying prophet.’ These things happen incrementally. They are the amalgam of a thousand prior decisions, each of them minuscule on their own, but adding up over time to represent a totally different direction, a changed value, a new behaviour. Only rarely are these changes for the better.
the temptation to give our own message is always present
Jer 23:22 shows us the better way, ‘If only they had stood in my council…’. If only the first decision each day would be to hear God through his word, to discern his better and best way, to hear his voice. His affirmation and his honour are paramount. Seeking this, we are will do a better job of speaking His word.
Q: Are the affirmations you are receiving leading you deeper into God’s will and council? What might need to change?