Jeremiah 23:16-17, 21-24b - Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.'" ... "I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have proclaimed My words to My people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds. Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?"
It really makes me wonder about those people—the ones who told lies in the name of the Lord. Did they really think He was not listening?
It seems like a dangerous game—to tell lies in God's name. And yet we see it every day, don't we? People who distort the Gospel in order to become popular and get money. Others who leave out the bits of Christ's teaching they don't like and pretend that He is just as racist or sexist or power-hungry as they are. Even people who are not believers, but make use of the trappings of Christianity to look trustworthy.
It's a dangerous game. A human lifespan is not so long, is it? Even if they succeed in all their ways unto death, well ... I'd not like to be standing in their shoes before Jesus.
But then I have to ask—am I, maybe, standing in their shoes without realizing it? Maybe I've just got a toe in there—but that's still too much. Have I ever used my status as a Christian to bring me earthly power or money or benefits—or just the admiration of people around me? Have I ever said, "Thus says the Lord" or "Jesus wants you to do this" when it's not entirely 100 percent clear that is what He really wants? Have I twisted God's words, or overlooked some of them, because that suits my personal goals better than following Him with my whole heart?
God forbid. And God does forbid—forbids us to do these things that end up in death, separated from Jesus. Instead, the Holy Spirit calls to us to come to Jesus, to focus on Him, and to learn from Him instead of following our own ideas. We may be wrong, after all. He never is. As long as Jesus is more important to me than anything else, so far I am safe.
So who is this, who is to be the center of my life, and take the place of all my idols and selfishness? It's Jesus. Jesus, who is God Himself, who knows our sin and loved us enough to die for us just the same. Jesus, who rose from the dead so that we, too, might rise and live with Him forever—beloved children of God, standing in His council.
WE PRAY: Fix my eyes and heart on You, dear Lord. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you know of anyone who bends the truth in God's name?
2. Have you ever been tempted by this sin?
3. Jesus is God's truth. How does that form a safe foundation for our lives?