Day 235: Lying Prophets
Jeremiah 14:1-22 The destruction and deportations of 597 BC were followed by a severe drought. The people had rejected the Lord’s message transmitted by Jeremiah and had listened to false prophets instead. They claimed that no harm would befall them and they had nothing to fear. Jeremiah was akin to Abraham and Moses, who petitioned for mercy for a sinful people.
Ch 15:1-21 The Lord’s words regarding Jerusalem led to Jeremiah’s second confession (verses 10-21), which revealed the thankless and futile task of his mission and the challenge to answer God’s calling. The Lord replied by encouraging Jeremiah to deepen his hope in God’s wisdom and love and to pursue his mission with even more conviction. (CCC 2584)
Ezekiel 43:1-27 As this vision of the restoration concludes, the Lord promised that the Temple would never again be defiled by pagan idols and that he will always be present among his people. Historically, even though the Romans destroyed this restored Temple in AD 70, by then the Temple of the Old Covenant had been replaced by the New Temple of Christ’s Body. God made himself fully present in the Church through Christ and the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit by means of the grace of Baptism. (CCC 797, 809, 1279, 1695, 2355)
Ch 44:1-31 Stricter regulations were set in place for the restored Temple. Pagans could not enter the sanctuary or make offerings, a rule that helped eliminate the possibility of defilement; the priestly functions are now limited to the descendants of Zadok, the lone priest who had remained loyal to David toward the end of his life, unlike the rest of the Levites who turned to idolatry.
Proverbs 15:16 Profit may be a motive for both the worker and the employer, but respect and justice for the individual supersedes the objective of material gain.
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
That last Proverb, MAN!
Proverbs 15:16, “Better is a little fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.” (Sounded like Fr. Mike said “bitter” and the YouTube subtitles confirm this, but I’m pretty sure he meant “BETTER” 😉)
So much is packed into that verse
So many of these Proverbs had such POTENCY
They have such WISDOM
We can pass by on them really simply
But better is a little, as long as we have fear of the Lord
I can be in want, materially
I can even have a short life
But if that life is marked by FEAR OF THE LORD
THAT GOOD FEAR
THAT SENSE OF I REALIZE WHO GOD IS AND WHO I AM
VS. GREAT TREASURE AND TROUBLE
Meaning great treasure and NOT HAVING FEAR OF THE LORD
That would be a TRAGEDY
That is the TRAGEDY that marks SO MANY OF OUR LIVES
Maybe it marked our lives leading up to this Bible in a Year
Maybe our lives are marked by NOT KNOWING WHO GOD REALLY IS
Until...here we are in Day 235 and God REVEALS HIMSELF TO US
And we realize, “My gosh, Lord, every day I learn a little more about you and every day you just show me who you are.”
WHAT A GIFT!
It feels like we’re praying again!
It’s just one of those GIFTS of recognizing that this has been 235 days worth of gifts
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
So what are we going to do with that gift?
You know Jeremiah and Ezekiel
Keep in mind the CONTEXT of Jeremiah
Jeremiah has got to preach for another 40 or so years
Ezekiel is coming to the end of the book
AND IT IS THE SAME CALL, RIGHT?
THE CALL TO COME BACK TO THE LORD
It’s to recognize that at some point, TIME IS RUNNING OUT
Jeremiah 14:1, “The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah concerning the drought: ‘Judah mourns and her gates languish”
Here’s Judah and Jerusalem
The Kingdom that lasts, that is still present
It is going to be attacked
The Babylonians are going to conquer it and bring the people into exile
Jeremiah 14:3, “Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns, they find no water, they return with their vessels empty”
That’s the thing…
Because we’ve been FAITHLESS to the Lord, there is NO FRUIT TO FIND
How many times has God said, “If you’re faithful to me, come back to me and there will be FRUITFULNESS in the land.
There’ll be STRENGTH in the land.
There’ll be ABUNDANCE in the land.”
And what have the people chosen to do?
They go on to choose the FALSE PROPHETS, the LYING PROPHETS
Jeremiah 14:13, “Then I said: ‘Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’”
And God is saying, “No, those are LIES.”
So I wonder how many FALSE PROPHETS we have in our world?
That’s easy to say when it comes to culture
This person on TV
That person on the radio
How many FALSE PROPHETS do we ALLOW in our lives? (Oftentimes, they’re the people who say things like, “Live your truth” 🤨🧐🤮)
In my life?
Maybe they speak words that I find are COMPELLING
Maybe they speak words that I REALLY LIKE TO HEAR
Maybe they even give me CONSOLATION
Maybe they even give me COMFORT
IF IT IS NOT TRUE THEN THAT IS A FALSE PROPHECY
IF IT IS NOT TRUE THEN IT’S NOT SOMETHING I NEED TO GIVE MY ATTENTION TO
Let’s hear from C.S. Lewis, paraphrased in this instance, “The only reason to believe ANYTHING is because it is TRUE. We don’t believe something because it makes us happy. We don’t believe something because it makes us behave well. The ONLY reason to believe ANYTHING is because it is TRUE.”
So one of the things we want to be as men and women convicted by the TRUTH that is uttered by the Lord
Even the truths of God that are uttered not by God, but by INSTRUMENTS OF GOD
That means we have to be on the fence against those FALSE PROPHETS
Those LIES that we have allowed to CREEP INTO OUR HEARTS
It’s so easy to go to the news, or social media
But what are the LIES that I have allowed to take up root in my life?
What are the LIES that I have given power to in my life?
They could be LIES OF CONDEMNATION
They could be LIES OF DESTRUCTION
They could also be LIES that offer me COMFORT when it is NOT TIME FOR COMFORT
They can be lies that say, “Hey just wait. Later. Yeah I know God is calling you to change, but there is time later on to change.”
What are some of those FALSE PROPHETS that are in my life that, like Jeremiah, I just have to say that I am INTOLERANT OF THOSE LIES
Jeremiah 14:17-18, “...’Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease, for the virgin daughter of my people is struck down with a great wound, with a very grievous blow. If I go out into the field, behold, those slain by the sword! And if I enter the city, behold, the diseases of famine! For both the prophet and priest ply their trade through the land and have no knowledge’”
That’s a picture of DEVASTATION that is SO POWERFUL
Those people who SHOULD KNOW
THEY DO NOT KNOW
People who should have LIFE
THERE IS NO LIFE
So here is Jeremiah, the TRUE PROPHET, and his heart is BROKEN because of this
So here is the call for all of us
What are those FALSE PROPHETS in my life that are either speaking WORDS OF CONDEMNATION THAT OR FALSE or WORDS OF COMFORT THAT ARE FALSE
WHERE IN MY LIFE AM I CALLED TO BE LIKE JEREMIAH
AND WEEP FOR WHAT NEEDS TO BE WEPT FOR
Those INJUSTICES that need to be STOOD UP AGAINST AND SPOKEN AGAINST
Where do I need to be that Prophet Jeremiah who SPEAKS THE TRUTH?
Who speaks WORDS OF CONSOLATION when they are needed
Who speaks WORDS OF COMFORT when they are needed
But also who speaks WORDS OF CONVICTION when they are needed
We are coming to the end of Ezekiel’s vision of the NEW TEMPLE
We only have a couple of chapters left in The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel
But what does he see?
The Glory of the Lord Entering the Temple
Remember one of the most devastating visions Ezekiel had earlier was seeing the Glory of the Lord DEPART the Temple
Because the people were FALSE
They were FALSE to Temple worship
They turned to FALSE gods
So he had this TRAGIC vision where he saw the Glory of the Lord RISE UP AND LEAVE
We see that the Glory of the Lord COMES BACK TO THE TEMPLE
WHICH IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE GIFT OF GOD
It is what we need to PRAY FOR to God
Wherever there are DEAD PARTS of our lives
There are places in my life where the Spirit of the Lord has departed
Remember when Samson’s hair was cut by Delilah and the Spirit of the Lord departed him and he didn’t realize it?
But later on, he PRAYED, “Lord, let your spirit come upon me one last time that I may perish with the Philistines.”
This is almost like an image of that
The Spirit of the Lord DEPARTED and they didn’t even REALIZE it
Ezekiel is saying, “The day is going to come when the Spirit of the Lord comes back, and will you realize it then? The spirit of power and of love and of self-control.”
And in Jesus Christ, God gives us that HOLY SPIRIT
Right now, YOU are a TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
That Spirit of God RESTS UPON YOU
He acts and works WITHIN YOU
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE GIFT THIS DAY!!
JUST SO AMAZING!!
Fr. Mike is praying for you because YOU ARE A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
So often, WE LIVE WITHOUT THE SPIRIT
So often, WE LIVE WITHOUT THE POWER THAT GOD GIVES TO US
THE POWER OF JESUS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD THAT DWELLS INSIDE OF US
So often WE DON’T WALK IN THAT POWER
WE DON’T SPEAK IN THAT POWER
WE DON’T LOVE IN THAT POWER
WE JUST TRY TO SPEAK AND WALK AND LOVE ON OUR OWN POWER
YOU HAVE MORE THAN THAT!!
YOU HAVE JESUS!!
YOU HAVE HIS SPIRIT!!
So Fr. Mike is praying for YOU
THAT YOU WALK IN THAT SPIRIT
THAT YOU SPEAK IN THAT SPIRIT
THAT YOU LOVE IN THAT SPIRIT
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE THAT HE CAN DO THE SAME THING
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you so much. God, please receive our praise today. Please receive our voice. Receive our heart. Receive, just God, our gift of thanksgiving. Because this day, none of us did anything to deserve it. It’s just your gift to us. And so we give it back to you. We give it back to you in praise. We give it back to you in thanksgiving. And we give it back to you with humble hearts. Because, Lord God, we did nothing to deserve it. So may you be praised this day and every day in Jesus’ name. Amen.”