There is a stinging indictment here that I, and thousands of preachers can do well to heed today. Jeremiah conveys a sobering issue. Prophets who declare their own dreams and interpretations infallible and speak words of false assurance that do no profit the people. Those who speak to us and say that suffering is bad on the surface and that we can be completely rid of it if we speak the right words or have the right faith, may be short-circuiting the faith process in someone's life.
Those who tell us that no matter what we think, do, or speak, everything will be OK, and are not talking about ultimate, but temporal outcomes, are setting people up for disaster.
Those who assure us that our choices do not matter because there are no consequences, are not being loving in their declarations.
What we do matters.
The choices we make take us down paths that lead somewhere. Grace enters in. Mercy is ever-present, but laws of sowing and reaping are built into the very fabric of the universe to teach us how to live.
Syllogisms such as, "if A=B and B=C, then A=C" are divine principles that can only be defied by divine intervention and such intervention is most generally, not in our long-term best interest.
Anyone can make up anything. It can be made up in our subconscious and believed in our consciousness. Then, when communicated with "authority," it is believed by others.
The prophetic role is a dangerous role, not just for the prophet, but for the listener.
Vain hopes are harmful and unnecessary in the light of the solid hope we already have. We might have tough times ahead, but we will ultimately make it. Just don't despise the hard times or dismiss them as non-existent. They are also our teachers.
" Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”"
"For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD
to see and to hear his word,
or who has paid attention to his word and listened?
Behold, the storm of the LORD!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intents of his heart.
In the latter days you will understand it clearly."
"“I did not send the prophets,
yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds."
"“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD."
(Jeremiah 23:16-32 ESV)