Saturday 16 March 2024

Bible Book:

'As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.' (v. 9)

Jeremiah 28:1-17 Saturday 16 March 2024

Psalm 38:10-22


How do you work out whom you can really trust?  We may not bump into prophets as often as people did in Jeremiah’s day, but distinguishing between truth and fiction can be just as hard in today’s world. Online, thousands of voices compete for attention, all seeming to have the answers to life’s problems. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the process of deciding who to trust and which information is reliable can only become increasingly tricky. 

In today's Bible passage we meet the false prophet Hananiah who confronts Jeremiah at the Temple and prophesies that God will destroy the power of Babylon and return the Temple treasures and the people that Nebuchadnezzar had taken. (v. 4) To add some drama to his message of "don’t worry all will be well", Hananiah also breaks the yoke of wooden bars that God has told Jeremiah to wear around his neck. (v. 10)

Everyone likes a bit of good news and it’s tempting to believe what we want to hear. So how do we discern truth from crowd-pleasing rhetoric? Well, the people might have weighed up what they knew and trusted about Jeremiah – that he was indeed a genuine messenger of God and his words were reliable. They could have listened to Jeremiah’s words of logic that most prophets (including himself) spoke words of doom not peace (v 8). Thus if Hananiah’s prophesies were to come true, then he would be vindicated as sent from God. And they might have watched how calmly Jeremiah walked away, which he could afford to do because he knew Hananiah’s words would not come true. 

When we must discern what's true when faced with things that look and sound attractive, but are not from God, we might do well to do the same. Is the person giving the advice a true servant of God that we know and trust? Do the words they speak convey an easy or difficult message? And is the person content to walk away and trust God to reveal the truth to God's people?  

To Ponder:


Loving God, guide me by your Holy Spirit in all my decision-making and keep me in the path of truthfulness. Amen. 

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