Prophets declare God’s Word even when it is not welcome. When God sent national warnings to Judah, the people rejected and mocked the prophets:
Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the LORD. … Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the LORD that had been consecrated in Jerusalem. The LORD, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the LORD’S anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done (2 Chron. 36:12, 14–16, NLT, emphasis added).
Confronted with God’s word, the people sought to silence God’s messengers: “‘Don’t say such things,’ the people respond. ‘Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!’” (Micah 2:6, NLT). God, however, condemned their denial: “Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the LORD’S Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting. Yet to this very hour my people rise against me like an enemy!” (Micah 2:7–8).
Seeking comfort but refusing to change their behavior, the people turned to other “prophets” who would tell them what they wanted to hear. However, God warned the people:
“Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD! They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The LORD says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ Have any of these prophets been in the LORD’S presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? Look! The LORD’S anger bursts out like a storm, a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned” (Jer. 23:16–20).
Eventually, Judah was conquered by the Babylonians, just as the prophets had warned (2 Chron. 36:17–21). No amount of denial, mockery, or effort to cancel and censor the prophets’ message could change the nation’s plight. Only a radical change of behavior rooted in repentance could have prevented judgment (2 Chron. 7:14; Jer. 18:7–8). As Americans, we would do well to heed the example of Judah, lest we suffer the same fate.
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