False Prophets/ Shepherds/ Priests. Jeremiah 23
Prophet Jeremiah (628 BC- 586 BC) was appointed to preach to the people of Judah. There were lots of false prophets in Judah. God was sad and angry at what they were doing.
1.They were destroying and scattering the sheep. Jer.23:1,2.
- They have driven them away and have not bestowed care on them. Jer.23:2.
No proper spiritual feeding, sick are neglected, no medicine for the wounded.- they are left to die.
- Sheep were afraid or terrified with false shepherds. Jer.23:4.
Instead of loving, they were rude to the sheep.
- The land is full of adulterers. They follow an evil course. Jer.23:10.
The heavy presence of sin in the land.(adultery probably in both its literal and figurative sense)
- Both prophet and priests are Godless. Jer.23:11.
Jeremiah could see the fundamental lack of holiness among those who were supposed to be spiritual leaders.
- Even in the temple, they do wickedness. Jer.23:11.
Not only their personal lives were ungodly, but their ungodly hearts and ways were evident in the House of God.
- They commit adultery and live a lie. Jer.23:14.
Spiritual, physical adultery and a life of pretensions.
- They strengthen the hands of evil-doers. Jer.23:14.
They were supporting those who were doing evil.
- So that no one turns from his wickedness. 23:14.
Because their own lives were filled with spiritual compromise, the prophets and priests of Judah had no place or power to turn others back from their wickedness.
- The shepherds and sheep are like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jer.23:14.
Life of immorality. No holiness in their life. Doing whatever to satisfy their carnal desires.
- They give false hopes to people. Jer.23:16.
Instead of preaching repentance, they were preaching false hope.
- They speak visions from their own minds. 23:16.
Their messages were not from the Lord but they spoke to satisfy people.
- They say to all stubborn / sinful people that no harm will come to them. 23:17.
They never corrected the people. Gave false hope.
- They don’t stand in the counsel of the Lord. 23:18.
They were not interested to know the mind of God.
- They are people without any call from God. Jer.23:21.
They are people who took this profession for a living.
- God did not speak to them but they still prophesied. Jer..23:21.
They preached what the people wanted to hear. Messages to get benefit from people.
- They are not turning people from their evil ways and evil deeds. Jer.23:22.
They are not interested in that.
- They prophesy lies in God’s Name. 23:25.
Do we see this kind of false prophets/ shepherds/ pastors in the Church today?
People without any calling, who joined ministry with wrong motives. People who are interested only in money, name, fame and luxury.
What is happening in many churches today? Sheep are scattered or driven away….Many church members are addicted to sin/ alcohol / drugs/.. doing anything for money and position, don’t know the Bible, no holiness in their life, …Nominalism, materialism.
What are we doing for the Lord in this situation?
Appearances can be deceiving Jeremiah 24
Two baskets of figs represent two groups of Israelites._ the lucky ones who escaped exile and the doomed ones who ended up in Babylon But this is not how God sees the situation. The exiles (good figs) are not necessary righteous people but God sustains them and brings them back to the land after their hearts are purified thro their captivity.
The people who stay (bad figs) think they don’t need God, so God will destroy them. But the returning exiles will have a heart to know and follow God’ 24:7 God will allow them to return to their homeland and will bless them