Reflections: August 3, 2020
Monday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
By Joel Shaltanis
Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sometimes people speak carelessly in order to sound pious. Have you known Christians who confidently say, "God has put it on my heart," or, "God revealed it to me…"? This way of talking is problematic. Unless you are referencing the Bible, speaking this way can be used to justify sin.
Today's passage speaks of lying prophets who claimed to have dreams from God. Instead of calling people to repent, these impostors were telling people whatever they wanted to hear. These false prophets affirmed the sins of denying God's Word and stubbornly following one's own ideas, telling the people everything would be fine (Jeremiah 23:17).
Nothing has changed. Some still deny God's Word and convince themselves that God has revealed to them His approval. Others, seeking to live contrary to God's Word, will find a religious official to give them the permission they seek. Sex outside of marriage? Just as long as you are in love and use protection. Abortion? A sad necessity, but a woman's right. Homosexuality? It can't be wrong if God made you that way. Find almost any sin and some false prophet will justify it for you.
It was into this sort of setting that God sent Jeremiah. He called out the false prophets saying, "How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart…?" But God said, "… let him who has my word speak my word faithfully." We, too, should speak God's Word faithfully and above all, keep listening to it. When spoken faithfully, God's Word can burn up and consume the sin that so easily entangles us.
By staying in God's Word we will be kept in the one true faith and led to the Savior. Jesus promised as much, saying, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Restrain, O Lord, the human pride That seeks to thrust Your truth aside Or with some man-made thoughts or things Would dim the words Your Spirit sings. ("Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide" LSB 585, st.5)
-Rev. Joel Shaltanis is pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Plano, TX.
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