Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon. — Jeremiah 27:9
We live in a day when seemingly everything is advertised. Marketers use a combination of manipulation and persuasiveness to promote their products. Their technique may be to suggest that using this product will put the user ahead of the times, or will make him or her part of an elite group with a glamorous lifestyle. The advertisement might present statistics to prove the superiority of the product, or describe some ingredient that makes it exceptionally effective. Words and images with positive connotations may be employed to suggest that its positive qualities would be associated with the consumer.
One soft drink ad that caught my attention featured the beverage being poured into a clear glass. Just the sound of it gurgling from the bottle made me think, Wow, I sure could use a glass of that right now! The visual image of the bubbling drink, complete with bobbing ice cubes and beads of condensation on the glass, actually made me thirsty! The manufacturer was appealing to my senses, enticing me to sample this drink for myself. In this case, what the manufacturer did not advertise were the negative aspects of the product. Studies have proved that there can be potentially harmful side effects tied to the consumption of soft drinks, including tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes. While the ad led consumers to believe that the product is good for us, the reverse in fact is true. Some ads no doubt tell the truth about their products. However, it is possible for us to be enticed by persuasive advertising into trying something that harms us.
In today’s text, Jeremiah found himself combating some false advertising. The ungodly priests and prophets of his day were presenting a spurious message of peace to the people. By contrast, Jeremiah was trying to “sell” a message to the people that God had given him, telling them what they needed to do in order to survive. Sadly, his message of truth was rejected, for the people were more inclined to listen to the false prophets than to Jeremiah’s painful but corrective words.
In our day, the danger of being confused by “false advertising” in the spiritual realm still exists. We must carefully guard against being deceived by eloquent and interesting speakers. False teachers of our day can obscure doctrine, minimize the importance of careful adherence to holy living, and lead us away from the truth of God’s Word. May God help us not to be led astray! How important it is to discern what the truth really is and then to stand for it with our whole hearts.
In today’s text, Jeremiah prophesied of Babylon’s control of Judah and the surrounding nations. Bible scholars agree that the events of this chapter took place during the reign of Zedekiah (see verses 3 and 12), which began in 597 B.C.
God instructed Jeremiah to make bonds and yokes — devices placed upon the neck of an ox or other beasts of burden to bring them under control — and to put them upon his neck. This was to be a visual illustration of the submission that God was requiring. Nations that did not obey this message from God would be severely punished.
Prophets, enchanters, and dreamers of Judah were contradicting the message Jeremiah delivered, telling the people exactly what they wanted to hear. This group encouraged King Zedekiah to band together with the surrounding nations and rebel against Babylon. Jeremiah, through the physical yoke about his neck, was telling the people, the king, and the false prophets to listen to God’s plan.
God stated in verse 11 that those who listened to Him and followed Jeremiah’s instructions would be able to remain in their homes and still use their own land to sustain them, even though in bondage. God gave them this promise, but there were conditions: they must obey Jeremiah’s message.
Verse 16 refers to the Temple treasures which the Babylonians had taken during their invasion in 597 B.C. The false prophets claimed these would soon be returned. Jeremiah said this was untrue, that even more precious items would be taken from the Temple.
In verse 17, Jeremiah told the people to submit to God’s will and live. Babylon’s yoke of bondage, which God permitted, was a much better choice than to have Jerusalem laid waste.
The final verse states God’s promise that restoration would take place in His time, not the people’s time. These prophecies were fulfilled under Cyrus the Persian after Judah had been in captivity for seventy years.
In this chapter, God gave the people of Judah a clear message: they were to come under the yoke of Babylon. Some would remain in their hometowns, while others would be carried to Babylon. But the depth of destruction to the nation would depend upon the people’s obedience to Jeremiah’s message from the Lord.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The pronouncement of judgment against Judah
B. The conflicts of the prophet
2. The conflict with false prophets (27:1-22)
a. The message to foreign rulers (27:1-11)
b. The message to Zedekiah (27:12-15)
c. The message to the priests and people (27:16-22)
It is possible to be influenced by eloquent speakers who offer messages that do not align with the Bible. Let’s be sure our hearts are tuned to the truth, so that we do not accept a carefully crafted but false interpretation of God’s Word.