Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hanaiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord. He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to the place from Babylon.” Jeremiah 28:5-6
Hanaiah, for whatever reason declared himself a prophet and told the people that they would regain their wealth and all that they had lost.
Jeremiah reminded him that the prohets of old had never prophesied this to the people and that, essentially, there was no confirmation.
What did Hananiah hope to gain out of his prophetic word?
Self-recognition. He wanted to be recognized as the one who brought hope to the people. He wanted the attention on himself more than he was concerned about the welfare of the people.
False Words. Hananiah’s words were empty because they were his own. They did great damage to the people because they did not urge the people to change their ways, leave their gods and love and obey God.
False words of hope make people weak. Instead, our words of counsel should be spoken in truth, without any personal motivation, and above all, should direct our hearer to find their strength in Jesus, seeking his words of truth for their circumstance through scripture.
False hope. By his words, Hananiah gave the people false hope which meant that when their oppression came or continued, it must have felt ten times worse. The people weren’t prepared nor did they have any faith in God to rely on and … perhaps they even saw God as the enemy when the false prophet’s word did not come to pass. Not only that, but the people turned to one another for comfort and consolation, instead of turning to the One who could save them. This is why it took 70 years before they could return to Jerusalem.
My prayer is that each of our words be carefully spoken, confirming your Word and continually pointing to you.
Our words must not be meant to provide quick gratification and false hope which can lead to greater destruction and a loss of confidence in you.
Our words should always exhort one to know you, seek you and repent of what is not of you.
We need to examine our motivations when we speak. Are we intending to offer false comfort? Do we want attention for ourselves? Is what we say in line with your word — confirmed by you?
Lord, help us to speak your words with your love. Let no self-motivation be in me. Let no self-promotion be in me. Don’t let my heart, which desires goodness and comfort for others, be used to bring false hope when you are doing a work in their lives.
Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. Thank you for your work which you will accomplish no matter what man says.
Thank you for never forsaking us.