The Danger of Presuming to Speak for God

September 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Jeremiah, Uncategorized | 15 Comments
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Jim, somewhat of an impulse buyer, came home with a new Corvette. It was the envy of his friends for a few weeks, but then, one day, Jim had to trade it in for a less expensive, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

His wife wanted to know why. “Honey,” said Jim, “I realized that car was a gas guzzler, and we couldn’t really afford it. I guess I just came to my senses.”

Later that evening, Jim’s neighbor came over. “Hey old pal,” said the neighbor, “I’m glad to see you got rid of that Corvette. With the way you drove that souped-up sports car, I was afraid you might lose control on a curve, and make your wife a widow.”

Jim’s wife was upstairs vacuuming, so Jim said grudgingly, “It was people like you that caused me to give up on my dream car. You spoke a spirit of fear into my life, and I panicked.”

Sunday morning Jim brought the family to church in their station wagon, only to be greeted by his pastor in the parking lot. “Good morning, Brother Jim,” said the pastor. “What happened to your Corvette?”

Jim dawdled until his family was out of earshot, then confided piously, “Oh, Pastor, the Lord spoke to my heart. He told me it was time to stop being so prideful, and to get a less-showy automobile, so I could better witness to my less-wealthy neighbors on their level.”

A once-familiar hymn proclaims, as evidence for the resurrection of Christ, the fact that He must be alive if He speaks to men today:

He lives.
He lives.
Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.

“He Lives,” Alfred H. Ackley

Certainly Christ Jesus does speak to His people today. But what does He say? The answer may be different for each and every person, but we must beware of the temptation to justify our own actions by rashly claiming out loud that the Spirit of the Lord gave us a special private instruction.

This was a big problem in Jeremiah’s day. Jeremiah was a true prophet, and he was faithful to repeat exactly what God told him. The false prophets spoke lies and then attempted to give them credence by claiming they came from God. However, God put an end to their party when He proclaimed:

Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. 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. And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.

Jeremiah 23:30-34

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  1. […] and especially the showy display of their gaudy buildings. Something clicks in your brain, (which you will later claim was a “rhema word from the Holy Ghost”) and you realize that you are never going to be […]

  2. […] where he abandons his family and flock for a few days so he can go somewhere secluded and hear God speak to him audibly in a place where no else is around to verify […]

  3. […] desire for a private revelation from God may be very tempting. All true Christians want to be guided in an immediate way by God. […]

  4. […] cautious of dreams, but probably foolish to ignore them altogether. Jeremiah 23 is a good place to find out what God has to say about people who say, “God spoke to me in dream. I have a prophecy from […]

  5. […] someone say, “God told me to tell you this” or “I have a word from God for you” or “The Lord spoke to my heart,” you may reject these expressions or at the very least test them against […]

  6. […] Prophets who are truly from God are seldom popular. One of the marks of a false prophet is that, in telling people they are good, he is loved by the people. Note how the sins of covetousness and false prophecy often go hand in hand. […]

  7. […] this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this […]

  8. […] listen to the false prophets who say “peace, peace,” when destruction is at the doorstep. When we aren’t really motivated […]

  9. […] or through the passage of time as we see events unfold, but it wouldn’t be wise for us to seek a private revelation from God about the […]

  10. […] He knew that whatever he had said when he was prophesying/preacher was just a recitation of what God Himself had told him. He told his accusers to repent or perish. The Babylonian invaders had already invaded the city and […]

  11. […] to challenge his message and authority. Even more dangerous than disregarding the Word of God is claiming that you yourself have a “word” from God when you do not. AND, even more dangerous still is doubling down and claiming that God’s actual Word is false […]

  12. […] God knew the false prophets were lying. He did not give them their messages, nor speak to them at all. […]

  13. […] 23 deals with the false prophets that Jeremiah battled against in his ministry. Apparently, having been left behind during […]

  14. […] you are in rebellion against God’s visibly ordained pre-existing spiritual leaders? Too bad, God spoke to my heart, I’m just an aw-shucks country preacher trying to start a sketchy seeker-sensitive […]

  15. […] let me do what I had been preparing to do.” Let’s be careful about our language. There is a great danger in saying “thus saith the Lord” when He hasn’t really saith anything of the […]


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