Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Word From the Lord?

Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 23-25, John 19

Verses for the Day
26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

Thoughts for the Day
Jeremiah has words for the shepherds who failed to protect the sheep, but instead selfishly looked after their own interests. And then he turns to the prophets, who he calls "lying prophets". They were giving a message of peace when there was no peace. They turned their personal dreams into a "word from the Lord". Apparently they even borrowed each other's dreams.

In contrast, Jeremiah compares the prophet who speaks the word of the Lord faithfully. Unlike the subjective dreams of the lying prophets, the true prophets speak the Word, which is like a fire. It is like a hammer that breaks rocks into pieces. So what is the difference? One word comes from the Lord, and the other from man. The Word of God has power when it is preached faithfully.

And today as Jesus and the writers of the New Testament predicted, there are false prophets in the church. They claim to have dreams and words from the Lord, but who is to say it is not their word or dream. God still empowers and gifts people to speak, preach and teach His Word. But the one thing in common with each of see gifts, is that it is God's Word, not man's word. So we need to be careful in the church to weigh what prophets teach and preachers preach.
If they claim to have a word from the Lord it first needs to be tested by the Word in the bible. We trust that the 66 books of the Old and New Testament are the inspired Word of God. Anyone who claims to have a word from the Lord better make sure it aligns with The Word Of God.

Finally, a word of God is tested by its fruition, or whether it comes to pass. Therefore everyone who has given a date for the end of the world up until today has been sincerely wrong. It was not a word from the Lord because it did not come true. So one can see why it can be so dangerous when anyone says, "thus sayeth the Lord". We need to make sure that we don't take God's name in vain when we attach it to anything we say.

God still speaks his word today through those he has gifted in the church to deliver His word. It is a big responsibility to teach or preach the word faithfully, and severe consequences for those who abuse this authority. Pray for the church that it's preachers and teachers would not give their own opinions or dreams, but rely on the Word of God. This is the Word about Jesus Christ, which has power to save. Thia is the Word that will last forever.

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