Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve. “Speak this word to them: “ ‘Let my eyes overflow with tears night and day without ceasing; for the Virgin Daughter, my people, has suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow. If I go into the country, I see those slain by the sword; if I go into the city, I see the ravages of famine. Both prophet and priest have gone to a land they know not.’ – Jeremiah 14:14-18
This passage has only a passing reference to water in the form of tears and I was tempted to skip it as I find it very confusing, but I signed up for the entire river so I will give it my best shot. What is confusing to me is the betrayal that God is describing. The very prophets who are supposed to be God’s mouthpiece to the people are “prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds”.
The prophets are telling lies in God’s name. I am not sure what motivation they would have to do this except perhaps to get something for themselves or perhaps avoid some form of persecution. The main lie that the prophets seem to be spreading is that “No sword or famine will touch this land”, meaning Judah and Jerusalem. They are essentially telling the people that there will be no consequences to their estrangement from God. This is not the truth that God wants the people to realize as we saw in yesterday’s passage.
The message that God wants to convey comes in the latter part of the passage “Let my eyes overflow with tears night and day without ceasing; for the Virgin Daughter, my people, has suffered a grievous wound, a crushing blow”. God wants the people to know that they will see pain and suffering and He weeps with them and for them.
It is almost as if God is likening this betrayal by the people called to lead His people to a member of your family abusing of one of your children. This seems very personal. I think God is especially grieved when those who are given the responsibility to lead others end up failing the Meribah Test and lead people away from Him.
Prayer: God we all fail to follow You faithfully at times. Help us to listen carefully to your whisper so that we can hear Your voice.