..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Deception of Idolatry: The False Promises of False Prophets

"Because with lies you have made the heart
of the righteous sad, whom I have not made
sad; and strengthened the hands of the
wicked, that he should not return from
his wicked way, by promising him life"
(Ezekiel 13:22).

In the Book of Ezekiel, God has severe
issues with the purveyors of Israel's
idolatry. He accuses the false prophets
of having a false vision of peace for
Jerusalem instead of calling her out of
her idolatry (13:16).

He rails against those who sell items
of idolatry to encourage idol worship,
causing people who are trying to do
right to stumble and causing people
who perpetrate this idol worship
to prosper (13:19,20).

What makes a false prophet false is that
they do not speak for God. They do not
speak the truth: they lie. They say that
"Everything will be fine," they say that
"peace is coming," they say that "you
are ok." True prophets, however, call
people back to a Holy God. They warn,
they cajol, they plead, they weep. They
are not happy campers, that is not their
job. In a sense, when all is well, we do
not need prophets! When we pursue God
with all our heart then the prophet is
out of a job! Then, and only then, is he

No-one would want to be a prophet because
his is a lonely road to walk when idolatry
and sin have overtaken a people. He does
not bring the message that everyone wants
to hear. In Jeremiah's day he was mocked for
bringing "today's sad news from God"
(Jer. 23:33).

Beware the prophet who is too popular. When
"prophets" have become as popular and
undiscerning as the rock stars they so
scarily resemble, then we are in trouble.
In the bible, prophets of God do not
usually have the luxury of being popular.
Many might come to hear him, but few wanted
or heeded his words. And sadly, they were
not his words, but God's.

How long will the righteous have to live
with a sad heart because wickedness and
lies abound? How long will the hands of
the wicked be strengthened by those who
would tell them lies about how they are
right before God? How long will the godly
have to watch ungodly and unlawful deeds?

It is no fun to watch people fall into
error. It is no fun watching the heart
of God break over that which would hurt
His people. Yet God did not and does not
wink at sin. He dealt with the cancer of
idolatry forcibly and completely. God gave
the idolatrous over to deception and
to lies. He allowed the false prophets
to be deceived and to prophecy deception
(Ezekiel 14:7-11).

Why? What did God have against Israel?
First, they turned away from worshipping
Him for who He is. They turned and
adopted the practices of their pagan
neighbors. Why was God so strict about
Israel's not mixing with the other pagan
nations? He did not want the leaven of sin
to infiltrate them. He is not like the
pagan gods. You cannot manipulate Him,
or conjure things up, or do as you will with
Him, or exercise power apart from Him.

That is why every true work of God
will have repentance at its heart and
holiness as its fruit and watchword.
Words can sound right but what is
behind them? The label on the can
can say "Christian" but inside it
can be devil's food! How would you
know the difference?

First, God is holy. That which is of
God is in line with the holy
character of God. The Holy Spirit
reveals Christ to us. The Holy Spirit
does not speak of Himself, but points
to Christ. Anything that is not of
the fruit of the Spirit is not of God.
And what are the fruits of the flesh?
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred,
contentions, jealousies, outbursts of
wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions,
heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness,
revelries [orgies], and the like
(Gal 5: 20, 21).

Anything that mocks goodness, is
provocative of evil, disrespects spiritual
authority, demeans, produces lust, presumes,
exerts and follows its own way, puffs itself up,
compromises the truth, is enamored with money
or excess wealth, anything degrading or
anything that leads to loss of being led or
influenced by the Holy Spirit is simply not
from God (2 Peter 2:10-22, 1 John 3:3-16,
2 Tim 3:2-7).

Evil can look good for awhile, but it
cannot continue to fake genuine holiness:
the flesh will erupt because that is what
the flesh is like. Good fruit produced over
time is a worthy test of whether something
is from God or not.

Secondly, not all signs and wonders are
of God. Throughout the bible signs and
wonders were wrought by both godly and
ungodly alike. In Moses' day, Jannes and
Jambres (2 Tim 3:8)worked signs and wonders,
some of the plagues were reproduced by
Egyptian sorcerors (Ex 7:11,12), Daniel's
contemporaries practiced magic (Daniel 2:2),
Simon the Sorceror worked false miracles
(Acts 8:9).

Jesus said that the sign of the end
of the age would be MANY false signs and
wonders (Matthew 24:25) The False Prophet
who paves the way for the Antichrist does so
with false signs and wonders (Rev 13).

We as a people are so starved for the
supernatural that we fail to discern
what spirit is behind what we see.
We have gone from seeing nothing of the
miraculous to a cesspool of spiritual
activity that few seem to be discerning
by biblical standards and by the Spirit
of the Lord. If we prefer darkness to
light, and righteousness to unrighteousness
then God will give us over, as He gave
Israel over, to darkness, unrighteousness,
and deception (2 Tim 3:8-13).

We don't want to be there. For when
God deceives us, we are truly deceived.
Dear ones, I adjure you to not be naive,
nor be led astray by the "miraculous."
Seek God. Try the spirits. Our only
safety is to walk with God.
As Micah says, "Do justly, love mercy,
and to walk humbly with God" (Micah 6:8.)
Being with the Lord is not about
feeling good. It is not even about
being healed or having a spiritual
experience. It is about being transformed
into the image of God's dear Son, Jesus,
for the Spirit of Jesus is a Holy Spirit.

May we purpose to listen to and OBEY God,
even if He tells us something that we do not
want to hear. He alone is Holy and True.
He alone knows best. Do not make His
heart, or the heart of the righteous, sad,
but forsake all others and everything
to follow Him alone.

1 comment:

Desert Pilgrim said...

This is a really excellent post. It needs to be spread far and wide, I hope many will read it.