There is nothing worse than false hope.
It is better to trust God and His plan than to be held captive by illusions and live with unjustified expectations.
Better a bitter truth than a sweet lie.
Better the unknown with God than fatal self-confidence.
It is better to listen to the accusations of the prophets than the pleasant inventions of falseprophets.
The trouble is, even knowing all this, we fall for the sweet bait again and again.
After all, false prophets rarely say bad things. Most often, they play on the good hopes of people and promise them a quick improvement.
The whole problem is in the word “fast”.
False prophets do not know the will of God, but they pretend to be messengers of good news from God and confidently set very specific dates.
So the self-proclaimed prophet Hananiah predicts a fairly quick deliverance – bear with just two years and everything will work out:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the Lord’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiachin[a] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and all the other exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’””(Jer. 28: 2-4).
On the background of Jeremiah’s gloomy prophecies, this word was like oil to the soul.
If Jeremiah says that the Jews will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years (Jer. 25:11), then Hananiah reduces the sentence to two years.
Which one is good and which one is bad?
Who will people love and who will they hate?
But these questions are far from being the main ones.
The main question is which of them really received the word from the Lord, and who told pople their own inventions as God’s words.
After all, Jeremiah was also not opposed to a speedy deliverance. So his first reaction to Ananias’s false prophecy was very positive:
“He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May theLord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon! ” (6).
Everyone would be only glad to return from captivity sooner.
But there is one thing: the Lord did not say that, the Lord did not send Hananiah. All attempts to reduce the seventy years of captivity to two are attempts to downplay the crimes committed by the people of Israel against the Lord.
We have not sinned for seventy years. Maximum – two years. This dispute with God, this difference in numbers shows that the prophets, priests, and ordinary people were far from repentance.
Jeremiah tries to turn the conversation from false hopes to reality,
“Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: 8 From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms.9 But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.”(7-9).
But they don’t listen to him. The Prophet Hananiah only repeats his words and at the same time performs a defiant symbolic act –
he “ took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it, 11 and he said before all the people, “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon off the neck of all the nations within two years.’” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went on his way.(10-11).
These words and symbolic actions provoke the wrath of God:
“You have broken a wooden yoke, but in its place you will get a yoke of iron.” (13).
This means that the stubborn people will face an even heavier punishment. And Hananiah himself will be punished for his self-will:
“ I am about to remove you from the face of the earth.This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.’(16).
It did not happen as the people wanted and as Hananiah prophesied to please them. Everything happened exactly as God said.
The people were in captivity for many years, and many still have not left there.
And the false prophet Hananiah died soon, in the same year – as a warning to all of us, lovers of sin, who at the same time hope that everything will somehow work out.
False hopes are always more costly than repentance, humility, and correction.
All that impostors are capable of prophesying is death to themselves and an iron yoke for their listeners.
Mikhail Cherenkov Cherenkoff online