In our last post, we began talking about the practical advice for prophesying and discerning of prophecy which God has provided for us in Jeremiah 23:9-36. Let’s continue on from where we left off:
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.
Prophecy sometimes is given by the Lord to turn people back into the way of life and godliness. Prophecy will never condone, minimize, or ignore sin. It will never tell people they are all right when they aren’t.
Verse 25: I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed.”
Again, don’t say you heard from God if you didn’t, or if you aren’t sure. Inwardly, if you give it a little time, you will know whether you have a true word from the Lord. Deep down inside, your spirit knows the truth — because the Holy Spirit is there to guide it. The problem is, our mind and emotions sometimes initially get in the way. Pay attention to that sense deep within.
Also keep in mind that our dreams need to be discerned just as much as any other type of revelation. Some of them are from God, and some aren’t.
Verses 26, 27: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who think to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams, which they tell every man to his neighbor ….
Yes, there are false prophets who do these things, usually for fame and gain. Just be sure you don’t go that route yourself.
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, [compared] to the wheat?
“What is the chaff, compared to the wheat?” There is a lot of chaff blowing around from so-called prophets these days. And when what they said would happen doesn’t, they just keep cranking out more of the same.
Chaff is of no value. It ends up being a mess in people’s mouths that they just want to spit out with disgust. Don’t do that to people! It cheapens prophecy to the point of causing people to turn away from all prophetic revelation, because they’ve been burned too many times by the fake stuff.
If you are sure you’ve got a true word, give it. That is being faithful to the Lord. But if you don’t have a sure word, don’t try to come up with something.
The quantity of your prophetic words doesn’t cut it in the long run. Quality does.
Verse 29: Is My word not like a fire? says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces?
A genuine word from the Lord carries impact — conviction, breakthrough, cleansing, a re-firing of someone’s spirit for the Lord.
Verse 30: Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal My words every one from his neighbor.
There are a lot of people out there prophesying who haven’t gotten what they are speaking from the throne room. They are only regurgitating what they heard some other prophet speaking. Some don’t even realize that they are doing this, because they have been filling themselves up constantly with reading and listening to prophetic blogs, e-mails, and videos.
If you want to really hear from God, go listen to Him directly. First-hand revelation beats repackaging someone else’s revelation every time. (Besides, claiming you have a word from the Lord which actually originated with another prophetic person is spiritual plagiarism. Ewww!)
Verses 31, 32: … I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who use their tongues, and say, “He says.” … I am against those who prophesy false dreams, … and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness: yet I did not send them, nor did I command them. Therefore, they shall not profit this people at all, says the LORD.
Verse 36: … For you have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.
Tell what God said, the way He said it. Don’t embellish it, and don’t modify it to make it more palatable to your listeners. Exaggerating or adding to what God said is actually lying. So is withholding part of what He said. It is perverting His words. This is very serious in God’s eyes. Four times in Scripture, He warns not to add to or take away from His Word (Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18, 19). While we are not prophesying on the same level of infallibility that the Bible carries, we can learn from the principle.
Next time, we’ll talk about how discerning of prophecy is supposed to work among New Testament believers.