Jeremiah 26-29, Psalm 20
Donald Trump coined the phrase “fake news” this year. Whether you agree with this or not it forces you to ask the question, “where do I get my truth from?”. For news do you seek the truth from Fox News? from CNN? from MSNBC? from the internet? For your politics do you seek the truth from the Republican or the Democratic party? From the Conservative or the Liberal direction? For your knowledge do you seek the truth from universities and other places of higher learning? or from the Bible? When you choose a church do you choose a church that welcomes gay marriage or one that opposes it? Do you choose a church that preaches only a positive message and avoids the topic of sin? or do you choose a church that confronts sin? This is not a new question, for Pontius Pilate said to Jesus in John 18:38, “What is truth?”
In chapter 28, the people of Judah were faced with a difficult decision as to who was speaking truth, Jeremiah or Hananiah? In fairness to the people, we have 2600 years of history from when this prophecy was uttered, and we know that we have a book in the Bible named Jeremiah, not Hananiah. If you were in their shoes which prophet would you want to be correct? Jeremiah said on many occasions statements like this in Jer. 27:8, “And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish, says the Lord, ‘with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand’.” Hananiah on the other hand spoke the opposite, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house…And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah, the king of Judah, with all the captives…” (Jer.28:2-4). For final effect, Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off the prophet Jeremah’s neck and broke it, stating this is what God will do to the king of Babylon (Jer 28:10-11).
Jeremiah does an interesting thing that we can all learn from. At the end of this confrontation with Hananiah seemingly having the upper hand, Jeremiah simply went his way (Jer 28:11). He refused to fight the false prophet in his flesh, in pride and in his own strength. God then comes to Jeremiah and gives him another prophecy. Though Jeremiah gave many accurate long term prophecies which we now know to be true, for example, 70 years captivity (Jer 25:11, 29:10) and that the Babylonian kingdom would fall during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson (Jer 27:7, fulfilled in Daniel 5), God gives him a short term prophecy which would authenticate him in the eyes of the people. In 28:16, Jeremiah prophesies that Hananiah would die that year, in verse 17, we read that he died 2 months later. Like Jeremiah, Jesus, when confronted by Satan in Matthew 4 does not fight back with His own strength and ingenuity, but fights back with the Word of God, quoting 3 times from Deuteronomy.
Though we live in a pluralistic society which rejects the concept of absolute truth, where majority rules, we know that even if we are in the minority we hold onto the truth of God in the Bible. We are told in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The world claims that Christianity is narrow minded and intolerant. But Jesus in John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus clearly states the exclusive position of the Christian faith. So we too, as we go out and spread His message, can be confident and hold firmly onto the truth written in the Bible, even if it is unpopular. It is through the lens of Scripture that we should determine what is and what is not true in every area of our lives. Though armed with the truth,we are commanded by Paul in Ephesians 4:15, to speak the truth in love.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: