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August 1: Jeremiah 28
Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14
Jeremiah has prophesied that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon will conquer and must be submitted to (27:8). But now another “prophet” named Hananiah claims, before all the leaders and people of Israel (28:1), that in fact God in two years will dismiss the Babylonians (3) and bring back Israel’s rightful king from captivity (4).
Who should the people listen to? God’s people ask the same question today. Just this week I received a church advertisement saying that “your friends and family will love” the pastor’s sermon this week on Romans 10. But how can that be known unless the message is custom-fitted for what we want to hear?
Thus Jeremiah, in response to Hananiah, immediately acknowledges that everybody - himself included - wants Hananiah’s prophecy to come true. “Amen!” (28:6).
But when in the past have God’s true prophets preached, “Peace, peace!”? Hardly ever. Instead they speak of destruction and dismay for many a nation (7). Why? Because God’s true prophets deal with what we don’t want to consider: the awful consequences of sin and rebellion against Him.
Now, if God were now to make an exception, then the best thing to do is wait, and see if it comes to pass (8). But in the meantime, watch the man’s life. For in seven months God would remove Hananiah (17) for leading the people to believe lies (15). Because in believing the lie they are led away from doing the one and only thing that would have truly brought peace: repentance. Better to humbly hear the harder word.