Holy and majestic God, You are so far beyond us and full of mystery and wonder. I bow in silence before You.
Read: Jeremiah 23:9-32
 Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a strong man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and his holy words.  The land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land lies parched and the pastures in the wilderness are withered. The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly.  “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the LORD.  “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,” declares the LORD.  “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.  And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”  Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets: “I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water,because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.  They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’  But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?  See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied.  But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.  “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.  “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’  How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?  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.  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.  “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?  “Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares.’  Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the LORD.
Reflect: Is your view of God too familiar?
It’s easy to become overfamiliar with the Holy One. I heard of an instance recently at a worship gathering where the leader exhorted his congregation to “give it up for the big man upstairs.” Intimacy, immediacy and access are all given to us through faith in Jesus, but we can only know in part.
The prophets described in this passage assume they can please their listeners by telling them what they want to hear, in the name of God (16,17). Dreams, hopeful outcomes and happy times ahead are all promised by these “spokesmen of God.” It’s all too easy and desirable to confuse sweet endings with God’s will.
In this passage the motive is power and influence. In our time such a practice may have more to do with offering easy answers. On the other hand, gifts of prophecy and knowledge are given to build up the church. So a tricky question is now faced: how are these gifts of faith to be used with integrity? Paul the apostle points a way forward, marrying realism and grace, by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
Examine yourself. Do you fear God? Do you view him in such a way that makes him “tame”?
If You withdrew Your Spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together (Job 34:14). Let us never make light of You.