This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people:
“Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you,
filling you with futile hopes.
They are making up everything they say.
They do not speak for the Lord!
They keep saying to those who despise my word,
‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’
And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires,
they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’
“Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence
to hear what he is really saying?
Has even one of them cared enough to listen? (NLT)
It is so tempting to just give out the news people want to hear. Assuring people they have nothing to worry about, that all is well. Makes them feel good and us feel better. It can happen in Christian contexts too. Those who are in a position to convey God’s heart and mind to others may succumb to the temptation to tell soothing lies. Or at least distort the truth so that the lie prevails.
In Old Testament times, Jeremiah was constantly attacked by those in authority. They didn’t appreciate his warnings about impending judgement. They didn’t like his messages which rebuked those in charge for ungodliness. And those same authorities readily found other voices that would deliver more palatable news. Those in power too often surround themselves with those who give them the news they want to hear rather than speaking uncomfortable truths.
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No Christian speaker wants to be merely a prophet of gloom and doom. A God of compassion and mercy is to be proclaimed. So too does a God who offers only one chance of avoiding just judgement…trust in his mercy rather than one’s own goodness. Our good news of mercy is made good by the bad news of our desperate need of that mercy.