‘’…only the real word of God will stand the test of time and experience.’’ A.E. Cundall.
False preaching (13-16): Jeremiah protested to God that the people had been misled by false prophets. The Lord agreed with him that they had been, and he assured him that these counterfeit preachers would be punished by experiencing the very judgments they said would not happen. Those who say there is no Hell will end up there themselves if they do not repent of their sins and trust in Christ. Tragically, the people in the pulpit who preach error take many of the people in the pews down with them. (For bodies to be left unburied in the streets would be considered a terrible disgrace by Jewish people: verse 16). The people in the pews, by the way, should have known better, because they had been given clear tests to apply to know whether a prophet was true or false. ‘’The sermons they’ve been handing out are sheer illusion, tissues of lies, whistlings in the dark.’’ The Message. No genuine prophet would encourage people into idolatry. The people could check the preaching with the Word of God (Isaiah 8:19, 20).
Genuine feelings (17, 18): ‘’None should preach destruction who cannot weep for those under its threat.’’ In these verses God’s heart is expressed through the mouth of Jeremiah. He doesn’t have physical ‘’eyes’’ that ‘’overflow with tears’’, but throughout the Bible His feelings and actions are described in human terms, because these are the only ones we understand. The Lord wept for Judah as a father might weep for his ‘’virgin daughter’’ who had been violated, beaten and left to die. There is deep heartbreak here. God was not indifferent to their suffering, even though He was the One who had to inflict it.
True praying (19-22): Here are some timeless elements of authentic prayer:
- It is honest (19): It faces up to disappointments and difficult and unanswered questions (19);
- It confesses sin (20). Jeremiah stood in a grand Biblical tradition of spiritual leaders who showed solidarity with their own people, confessing their sins as if they were their own;
- It seeks the honour of God’s Name (21a);
- It appeals to God’s Word (21b; see Leviticus 26:44, 45);
- It recognises that God is our only hope (22).
Prayer: We pray for all who preach that they may first hear from you Lord, and bring your messages. Protect us from all error. Help us to be discerning.