A HORRIBLE THING HAS COME TO PASS IN THE LAND
“A wonderful [astonishing – NKJ] and horrible thing is come to pass in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jer. 5:30-31). There was a terrible movement occurring in the days of Jeremiah – Israel was wandering away from the truth. They were beginning to worship idols and to rely on foreign powers for their help instead of relying on God. They had forgotten or ignored the command of the Lord on Mount Sinai, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exo. 20:3).
The attitude of Israel at this time is clearly depicted in Jeremiah 6:16-17. “Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein. And I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken.” As a result of this kind of attitude, Hosea on another occasion said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children” (Hos. 4:6).
Attitudes have not changed much over the last 2,500 years. There is a great many in the world today who have the same attitude as did Israel in the days of Jeremiah and Hosea, “the prophets prophesy falsely … and my people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:30-31). This is a very sad and disturbing fact. Men and women today are “claiming” to be preachers and teachers of the gospel; and yet, preach and teach error, and many of their listeners love to have that way. Today we need the same exhortation as Israel received in Jeremiah 6:16, the admonishment: 1) to STAND in God’s way – not our own way; 2) to SEE or investigate the word of God – not some man-made creed or doctrine; 3) to ASK for the OLD PATHS – not new man-made ways; and 4) to WALK in those truths.
Many today have become “sissy boys” when it comes to standing for religious truth and opposing error. It should not surprise us that many no longer stand for the truth, for the Bible told us this would happen. “But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
Let us consider a few passages that instruct us as to why it is so important to be extra-cautious not to practice or teach anything contrary to the word of God. The apostle Paul taught, “Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16). Paul says that those who teach religious error – things contrary to the word of God – will be lost and will cause others to be lost! If this will not cause one to think seriously about what he teaches – I do not now what will. The apostle John said, “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9). If we do not teach and practice the truth of God’s word, without addition or subtraction, we will find ourselves without God; and thus, without hope of eternal life.
Therefore, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pt. 4:11), and “speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine” (Tit. 2:1). We need to always remember that, “every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19). “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4)