Southern Baptist Convention

Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment (Lam. 2:14).

The Book of Lamentations picks up much where the Book of Jeremiah left off. We find the nation of Judah in total disarray; her fall to Babylon has led to utter devastation within her borders. A few shell-shocked survivors are left, wandering amongst buildings that have been burned and destroyed. The Temple itself is in ruins. Dark days indeed have fallen upon God's chosen nation.

Through his laments, Jeremiah attempts to once again reach the people. This time he is offering an explanation as to why these horrible events have occurred. He reminds them of all the times they had foolishly followed after men that did not speak for the Lord. Thy prophets refers to the false prophets that God identified in Jeremiah. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied (Jer. 23:21) These men had carried the credentials of prophets and maintained recognition and prominence in their community as professional men, but they had not been anointed of God. These false prophets had not seen that disobedience to God was the root of the nations troubles. They had felt that by saying something loudly enough, they could make it true. They had been blind leaders of the blind (Matt. 15:14).

False prophets are not just a problem that faced people in biblical times. There are many that are active in today's world. They have a tendency to live "larger than life," loudly preaching their answers to all who will listen. In reality, they have no insight into the real cause of personal or national problems. Their prayers are powerless. They are popular because they say what the people want to hear. Putting our faith in a false prophet or system of religion has eternal consequences, because it leads us away from God and His way.

Many people flock to false prophets. This happens mainly because of the nature of the false message. Some promise great prosperity for following them or investing finances and time into their ministry. They promise huge financial returns of ten times the investment, or even more! They promise miracles of healing or restoration; miracles that only God can deliver. These miracles are always held just out of reach, enticing their followers to give even more to obtain them. They frequently claim to offer an "easier road" to heaven. True believers in Christ should wonder, what could be easier than the free gift of salvation by grace? A true servant of God will not be shady or deceitful. They will never rely on "bait and switch" promises to draw people through the door. But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God (II Cor. 4:2).

You can know that a prophet is from God because he will simply seek to proclaim the message of the Lord. That message will match up to the Word of God, and it will not cost you a dime to receive it. It will glorify God and not the messenger. If the message you hear does not stand the test of God's criteria, you know it is not from the Lord. In that case, you should avoid the false prophet so as not to get drawn into his web.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15).

Thought for Today:

The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward (Prov. 11:18).

Christ Revealed:

By Jeremiah's sorrow over the destruction of Jerusalem (Lam. 1:12-22). Jesus expressed His sorrow for Jerusalem's failure to come to Him before it fell (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34).

Word Studies:

1:3 between the straits = where there was no way out; 1:4 solemn feasts = appointed assemblies; 1:9 came down wonderfully = had a horrifying fall; 1:14 wreathed = joined, intertwined; 2:12 their soul was poured out into = they died in.

Prayer Needs:

Pray For Staff: Cheryl Walker • Country: Bahrain (1,314,089) Mid East ¥ Major Languages: Arabic, English ¥ No evangelical work is permitted ¥ 70.2% Muslim; 29.8% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask God for daily direction (Ps. 48:14).

Memory Verse:

John 15:1-5
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries