Judgment warnings are never welcome. When God sent prophetic warnings to Judah, the people rejected and mocked God’s true prophets in favor of those “prophets” who told them what they hoped to hear. However, these prophets were liars:
Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.’” Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their wickedness on them” (Jer. 14:13–16).
Not everyone who claims to speak for God can be trusted. Religious leaders who ignore sinful behavior and refuse to call people to repentance should be suspect—particularly if they are promising blessings. The prophets’ primary role in Scripture was to identify sin and to call people to repentance. Any comfort afforded by prophets was usually to allay the inevitable sense of hopelessness following the prophet’s warning about the dire consequences of continued rebellion.
It is troubling how frequently today’s Christian leaders in America “prophetically” declare God’s favor upon our nation. Revival, prosperity, comfort, and blessing are readily promised without ever a mention of sin and a call to national repentance as a prerequisite for such divine favor. Such assurances defy God’s written word: “If I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would” (Jer. 18:9–10, NLT).
Rebellion results in judgment, not blessing. It is futile for us to hold out hope that God will miraculously transform our country when even our religious leaders are afraid to confront sin and to call people to repentance. Perhaps it is time we stop tickling our ears with vain assurances and face the reality of our situation. We are a nation at war with God, thus making us a nation poised for judgment unless we humbly renounce our sin and draw near to God.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.