PROPHETS WITHOUT PROFIT
Jeremiah 23:30-32 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.
It was through the prophet Jeremiah that God spoke to the latter kings of Judah - Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. God, through Jeremiah, continually warned these kings not to make alliances with the kings of Babylon and Egypt. His warnings were repeatedly disregarded in favor of the contrary advice of other false prophets of the kings. Jeremiah's warnings were even considered treason. He was known as the "weeping prophet," because he knew the fate of the people of God that were lead by kings that took the advice of false prophets instead of heeding the warnings of God which he delivered to them by His true messengers. He knew of their impending bondage and destruction.
From verse 11 of this chapter, false and wicked prophets are discussed. They had profaned the house of God. We know from numerous references during this period that false prophets and priests had begun idol worship within the temple of God. The "prophets" of Samaria worshipped the idol Baal and lured Israel to do so (Vs 13). The "prophets" of Jerusalem commit adultery and lied. They overlooked those that do evil and even supported them. They are compared to the evil ones of Sodom and Gomorrah (Vs. 14).
For from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land (Vs. 15). Notice what the Lord says about these prophets in verse 16. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, harken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. These prophets were not only evil, but they were leading others to sin. Their worship was not as God wanted it to be. Therefore, their worship was in vain. These were unprofitable prophets teaching their self-proclaimed form of religion. Jeremiah was telling them not to heed their teachings because it was not the will of God.
In order to give credence to their teachings, these prophets misquoted God. They said, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; that even though you do what you want to do (instead of the will of God), no evil shall come upon you (Vs. 17). Notice what is said in the lesson text, Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Verse 21 says, I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. These were not prophets sent by God. Their motives were not to profit their hearers by teaching God's words, but to profit themselves by teaching their own wills. In order to deceive the people, they pretended their messages were revelations from God.
These deceitful lies, being taught to the people, were said to be revealed by God to them in dreams (Vss. 25-27). God's response to this was, How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own hearts (Vs. 26). The "dreams" of men is not God's word. Such teaching is compared to chaff, while the pure word of God that these prophets should be teaching is compared to wheat. The people were told by Jeremiah to distinguish between false teaching, chaff, and the teaching of God, wheat (See Vs. 28).
Are there any "false prophets" today? Do they not inhabit the pulpits of churches throughout the world today teaching their own self-will for their own profit? Are not "false prophets" airing radio and television programs with deceitful messages for selfish and lustful purposes? The lesson of Jeremiah to the people of Judah is the same message we need today. Beware of false prophets; do not follow them or heed their messages. They claim to be sent by God with new revelations that are contrary to the will of God. The profit they seek if for themselves. They are not spiritually profitable to you. They are prophets without profit! Only God's word is profitable!