Jeremiah – Chapter 23


Verse 1 – “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord.

The flocks of people belong to God, so the pastors and leaders will be held accountable when they scatter the flock. The leaders of Judah were held accountable for telling the people false prophecies and things God didn’t say.

Verse 2 – Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord.

Those who preach and those who teach are held to a higher standard. Their teaching and life-styles have to line up to what God says in His Word.

Verse 3 – “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Verse 4 – “I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.

The good shepherds that God would raise up were not only Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, but leaders far into the future, who would bring Israel and Judah back from all the lands where He had banished them.

Verse 5 – “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a king shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

This verse points to when the Messiah comes, King Jesus. He will govern the people in righteousness.

Verse 6 – In His day Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Verse 7 – “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’

Verse 8 – but, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I have driven them. ‘And they shall dwell in their own land.’

Yes, the remnant came out of exile from Babylon and returned to their land, but in 1948 they came from all over and became recognized as a nation. There will be one more gathering, bigger than any of these when the “New Jerusalem” comes down from heaven.

Verse 9 – My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because the Lord, and because of His Holy words.

Verse 10 – For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right.

What the people had done was yield a godless society. Every sin mentioned in these previous verses, the US is guilty of: We have corrupt leaders who get richer and richer after they go into office; they have created laws that allow the killing of the unborn; passed laws to give people who don’t even know what sex they are to go into the wrong bathrooms; and pastors of mega churches getting caught doing unspeakable things. Do we honestly think God wink’s at this. If He passed judgment on Judah, should we not think judgment is coming soon to our land?

Verse 11 – “For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord.

Verse 12 – Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment,” says the Lord.

How did the nation become so corrupt? A major factor was false prophecy. They had made the people think all was well. Signs of false prophets: (1) They may appear to speak God’s message, but they do not live according to His principles. (2) They water down God’s true message in order to make themselves more popular and don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. (3) By doing this, they encourage people to think God didn’t really mean what is written in His word. (4) They tend to be arrogant and self-serving, appealing to the desires of their audience instead of being true to God’s word. (5) What they say does not come to pass.

Verse 13 – “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: They prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to err.

Verse 14 – Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them, are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.

Sodom and Gomorrah were sinful cities in Genesis, that God completely destroyed. If ever you have any doubt how God feels about sexual immoral behavior, go read what happened to these two cities. God doesn’t change.

Verse 15 – Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets: ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land,’ ”

Wormwood is a shrub that tastes bitter and so the prophets would eat bitterness and poisoned water for all  their false prophesying.

Verse 16 – Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.

Verse 17 – They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace” ‘ ; and to everyone who walks according to the imagination of his own heart, no evil shall come upon you. ‘ ”

Verse 18 – For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it?

“The counsel of the Lord,” referred to God’s desire to share His teaching with His prophets.

Verse 19 – Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord has gone forth in fury – a violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.

Verse 20 – The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.

In the latter days – when Jerusalem falls into the hands of their enemies, the people will finally understand.

Verse 21 – “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

Verse 22 – But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.

We can see whose responsibility it was to turn the people towards God. Look at the leaders of a nation and whom is in charge. If they are evil, the people soon follow.

Look at the destruction going on in the streets of our own nation, all because we’ve had a leader that had no respect for our military and officers of the law. These people are not protesters, as the media likes to call them, they are rioters! They have no regard for others property or difference of opinion; no respect of the law or anything else. Evil breeds evil.

Verse 23 – “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?

Verse 24 – Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

Verse 25 – “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’

Verse 26 – “How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,

Verse 27 – “who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.

God does use dreams to authenticate prophets. He used dreams with Joseph. But these dreams by these prophets were fabricated and preyed on the gullible.

Verse 28 – “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the Lord.

There is as much difference between My will and their dreams, as there is between he chaff and wheat – chaff blows away.

Verse 29 – “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Verse 30 – “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who steal My words every one from his neighbor.

Verse 31 – “Behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says,’

Verse 32 – “Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” says the Lord, “and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness, yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,” says the Lord.

The true words of God will produce results! If you believe, as a Christian, that your words are truly from Him, make sure they are. God will and does hold us accountable for speaking for Him.

Verse 33 – “So when these people or the prophet or the priest ask you, saying, ‘What is the oracle of the Lord?’ you shall then say to them, ‘What oracle?’ I will even forsake you,” says the Lord.

Verse 34 – “And as for the prophet and the priest and the people who say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ I will even punish that man and his house.

Verse 35 – “Thus every one of you shall say to his neighbor, and everyone to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’

Verse 36 – “And the oracle of the Lord you shall mention no more. For every man’s word will be his oracle, for you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God.

Verse 37 – “Thus you shall say to the prophet ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’

Verse 38 – “But since you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Because you say this word, “The oracle of the Lord!” and I have sent to you, saying, “do not say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’ ”

Verse 39 – ‘Therefore behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you and forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and will cast you out of My presence.

Verse 40 – ‘And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’ ”

Very plainly God tells Jeremiah how He feels about false prophets. These people mocked Jeremiah by saying, “What is the oracle of the Lord?” Oracle means “utterance” or “burden.” Because the people didn’t want to repent and turn to God, they mocked Jeremiah as if his words were made up. Have you ever rejected or made fun of a message, simply because you didn’t want to change? We should weigh carefully what is being spoken before we reject it. Your Spirit will tell you whether its truth or not. What someone says, when giving a message from God, has to line up with the Word of God.

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