Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
This situation was not much different than what people do today. The religious people in Judah were just trying to make the people feel good, telling them what they wanted to hear, giving only good news and rejecting God’s given truth. They were making up things themselves to tell the people so they could avoid telling them about what God was really going to do, the judgment that had to come that they could not avoid. So these prophets took their own messages and presented them as if they came from God, but they were all just a bunch of lies.
Some religious people are in that business of deception still today. They tell people only what they want to hear, things that will make them feel good, and pass it off as the truth of God. They make up their own truth and put God’s name on it and present it as if it came from Him when He had nothing to do with it. And their purpose is the same as those lying prophets in Jeremiah’s day—to avoid the uncomfortable truth of God’s judgment for sin.
But we can’t avoid it by not talking about it. We can’t make it go away by pretending it doesn’t exist. The truth, and it is sometimes a harsh truth, is that we are sinners. We don’t get everything right. We disobey God. We commit evil acts. We do things we are not supposed to do. And there are consequences for that. There are sometimes devastating consequences for that. And so we won’t do anyone any good by lying to them about the truth of their sinful state and the truth of God’s judgment of sin.
But the truth isn’t all bad, because the most wonderful truth of all that God has revealed to us is that there is salvation for our sins. There is a way to avoid that future judgment yet to come. There is a way to avoid being punished for our sins with an eternal death, and that is through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who came to be our Savior. Those two truths always go hand in hand. We are sinners, but God gave us a Savior. He gave us a way to be free, to be spared, to have new life in Him. So let’s not skip over those hard parts in God’s Word. Let’s not avoid those uncomfortable truths. But let’s proclaim the whole Word of God, because it is always connected in an amazing way to tell us all that we need to know.