Study from God’s Word… Jeremiah, Chapter 23: 9 – 40 … Passage for Reflection: Jeremiah 23: 23 – 24 … NIV 23 "Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far away? 24 Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.
My Journal for Today: For anyone who has determined that he or she has a Spirit-given gift of teaching, preaching, or prophesying, reading through Jeremiah 23 has got to be a bit unsettling. And if one holds a position in God’s Church as Pastor, Priest, Elder, or Bishop, to bring God’s messages to the people is fraught with incredible accountability.
In the days of Jeremiah there were those who called themselves “prophet;” and they spoke out as if they had THE WORD from God to the His people. But they were speaking self generated prophesies and words that the people wanted to hear, … NOT the words given to them by God as He did with Jeremiah, Isaiah, Micah, Joel, and others in those days. And in today’s highlighted text we see God declaring (note the emboldened words “declares the LORD” spoken three times, calling us to pay special attention) that there’s no where these false “prophets” can go to hide their untruths and false claims … from God.
In today’s world, I am amazed at what some teachers, preachers, and self-proclaimed “prophets” are spouting out to tickle the minds/hearts of those who seek after God’s truth. You know to whom I’m referring, … people like the priestess of personal power, Oprah Winfrey, or the guru of good feelings, Joel Osteen. They, and others, come across the airwaves, pronouncing words which they feel are words from God Himself; and they are likely so deluded with their prominence and popularity that they can’t see that what they teach/preach has no basis in God’s truth, i.e., from His word. And millions hear what they’re preaching and become callous to the truth. Their audience doesn’t want to hear God’s way or His will when they can hear messages of prosperity and well being from the gurus of garrulous living.
But, as today’s passage, predicts and promises, those who espouse God’s message and do not have His prophetic powers do so at the risk of great peril; and there is nowhere they can hide from The Lord’s judgment. Those of us who’ve been called – and then labeled – by the Church or by ourselves as “Pastor” or “Teacher” or even “Prophet” (though I don’t think that title is appropriate in this age of waiting for Christ’s coming again), carry a heavy burden of accountability before God to His people according to God’s word (see Romans 2: 23-24, Romans 12: 6-8; 1st Cor. 2: 15-16; 1st Tim. 3: 1-3; 1st Tim. 6: 3-5; 2nd Tim. 4: 1-5; Titus 1: 10; James 3: 1; 2nd Peter 2: 1-3; 2nd Pet. 2: 18-22]. Do you get the idea, from these many NT references from God’s word, especially noting James 3: 1 [linked], that righteous teaching is important?!!
As you can see, to be a “teacher” of God’s truth is A BIG DEAL, according to God’s word. But being a learner of God’s word is a big deal too. We who pursue God’s wisdom, way, and will from His word also have a responsibility, which as I’ve said in the past was illustrated by the way the Bereans checked out Paul’s teachings against the truth of Scripture as they knew it [see Acts 17: 10-15]. So, anytime we, who call ourselves “Christian” and believe our hearts to be indwelt by the enlightening ministry of the Holy Spirit, have a responsibility to avoid false teaching by knowing God’s word to the point we can spot a counterfeit easily by his/her false teachings.
With all that said, I pray that we’re pursuing God’s truth and are being discerning as to what we’re learning as God’s truth, always using the plumb of God’s word for our standard of truth.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, shine You light of truth upon all I learn, but especially give me Your anointing as I teach … even here in this place as I write these things daily. Amen