Monday, June 24, 2013
Jeremiah 23:16-17 (NRSV)
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say, ‘No calamity shall come upon you.’”
When we look at this passage contextually, we find that Jeremiah was pointing out that there were false teachers going around being, well, false. These were people who were actually quite knowledgeable of the scriptures, able to quote and offer plausible interpretations of scripture. According to Jeremiah, they were also unconditionally optimistic and reassuring, lacking a proper and realistic balance of life’s occurrences and hardships. In addition to those claims, Jeremiah declared that false teaching comes from the unredeemed heart, thus why Jeremiah says in verse 16, “They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.” In other words, the false teachers were driven by their own desires for recognition, saying what they and their hearts would want to hear.
This reminds me of how easily I can go into robot prayer mode. I find myself just praying for things that are only on the surface – for things such as energy to survive the work week or strength to play fiercely in my co-ed soccer game. I pass over the deeper things that consume my heart – things such as trusting that my faithful God will provide after seminary or inner strength to love hard and harder. Duh, God knows what’s going on in our hearts! So why not speak to those things?
Instead of the typical benedictory prayer, I encourage you to take the time to speak to those things that are deep down in your hearts. Pray for the things below the surface.