Friday, March 19, 2010

Pastors & Prophets - Jeremiah 23

Jeremiah 23:25 "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed."

Hebrews 4:13 "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

Of course, it means the Lord is watching.

This chapter deals with pastors and prophets who have told the people lies. The lie mentioned is that everything was going to be alright when in fact the enemy was at the door.

v1 "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD."

Pastors of our time are due the rest due their station. They have a great responsibility. The good ones have given up what ever life they may have had to devote their time and energy to a group of people who may or may not follow his teachings.

The caution here is that pastors are not to make stuff up. They are to preach what the Bible says, or as the Bible says what 'Thus saith the Lord." There are many truths in the Bible. As much as they have been preached for over 2000 years, they are still fresh and appropriate for our time.

v2 "Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; behold I will visit upon you the evil of your doings saith the LORD."

The people are being scattered for their disobedience but they were led by some people who made up things out of the imagination of the heart. There will be a new day when a righteous leader will come.

v5 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice int he earth."

We are talking about the Messiah. He came to Jerusalem and was rejected but with purpose. It was to provide a time of grace for the Gentiles and all the world to come to Christ. When that work is finished, He will return to the throne of David.

v6 "In his days, Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Oh for that day to come. It is Israel's day but it is also the Christians day when our hope is come and we escape this wicked world.

(These studies have a lot to say about the rebellion of Israel but it is not meant as criticism. It is meant as a history review. We as Christians and as a Christian nation have done no better in staying by Bible teachings, as a whole. There are still the faithful and I am thankful for them.)

The balance of the chapter is devoted to the subject of the pastors' and prophets' misleading of the people.

v17 "They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you."

That shoots in the foot some of the modern day preaching of prosperity. Some say, 'just send us your money and you will in turn receive abundance and be healed and reap mountains of rewards on this earth in this life', or something like that. That is not necessarily true. We will be blessed but it may be peace in our heart instead of a piece of property, it may be joy over the well-being of another instead of complete health for ourselves. Christ was perfect, yet he suffered for the glory beyond the cross.

So if you have a dream, tell a dream. The truth comes from the Lord and we have it written down for us.

v28 "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD."

There we have it, a caution to lead the people correctly.

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