By David ReayFriday 3 Jan 2020LifeWords Devotionals
What can I say about you?
Who has ever seen such sorrow?
O daughter of Jerusalem,
to what can I compare your anguish?
O virgin daughter of Zion,
how can I comfort you?
For your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?
Your prophets have said
so many foolish things, false to the core.
They did not save you from exile
by pointing out your sins.
Instead, they painted false pictures,
filling you with false hope. (NLT)
There is such a thing as false comfort. The people of Israel suffered the consequences of it. Dragged off into Babylonian exile and seeing their city and culture destroyed. They had gone badly astray from God and those who were supposed to hold them to account did not do so.
Prophets were God’s mouthpieces. They were supposed to point people to God by reminding them of what he required of them. If the people went off the rails, it was the job of the prophets to bring them back on track. But the prophets had become tools of the authorities. They told the leaders what the leaders wanted to hear.
Bad news would make them unpopular, so they only gave out good news. It certainly happens today too, though politicians and their advisors may take the place of the prophets. None of this is an invitation to constant condemnation and ceaseless gloom. But if there is a problem, we need to know about it and not have others soothe us with false comfort that all is well when it is not.
In our churches, we are not to become mere bearers of bad news. We are to point people to goodness and beauty and joy. We invite others to bask in the sunshine if the sun shines but also urge them to take heed of the clouds on the horizon.
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