Jeremiah 23

We journey on in Jeremiah 23. As you remember in chapter 22 Jeremiah addressed his remarks to three of the final kings of Judah. He pronounced the judgments and the reasons for the judgments that were to come against them. Now the final king of Judah is Zedekiah and it is felt that the 23rd chapter is addressed to Zedekiah.

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

The word pastor is the same as shepherd. In the Old Testament it referred to the kings. As God intended that the kings should rule over the people with a shepherds heart. And that they have the interest of the sheep at heart. But this is not the case at the end of the kingdom before the Babylonian captivity. We were reading in the previous chapter how that the kings were taking advantage of the people. They were using their positions to enrich themselves. They were not seeking the welfare of the people but only their own gain. So God’s indictment for enriching themselves rather than seeking the benefit of the people.

The interesting that God refers to them, the people as My pasture. I think that we need to realize in the New Testament the word pastor or shepherd applied to the leader in the church. And I think that every leader in the church needs to realize that we are shepherding over God’s heritage. You are not my flock, you are His flock. But I have the responsibility of shepherding over His flock. Of taking care and concern for your spiritual welfare. Of seeing that you are well fed, and well taken care of. Because one day I am going to have to report to the Chief Shepherd of what I have done concerning the flock of God. His flock, you are His, His sheep. So the Lord looks upon you as His. And every pastor should look upon himself as one who is a caretaker over the flock of God. If I would be guilty of taking advantage, of fleecing the flock, then I am going to have to answer to God for that and it would be very very serious.

In James he said, “Be not many masters, knowing that you will receive the greater condemnation. Unto who much is given much is required.” And He talked about those who He put over His vineyard who misused their position of power and how that the Lord dealt so severely with them when He came again. And so the indictment that God is making against these kings who scattered the sheep and destroyed the sheep of His pasture.

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock,

Again, the LORD owns them as His. As He owns you as His.

and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Now Jeremiah has been prophesying the captivity and them being taken as captives to Babylon to serve there as slaves. But that is not the end of the story for God’s people. It is not going to end in Babylon. The LORD is promising that He is going to restore them from their captivity. He is going to bring them back again. And over and over through the Scriptures there is the promise of the restoration of the nation of Israel and the bringing back of the people into the land and it happened. They returned from their Babylonian captivity and they were established again in the land and we see now it happening once more. After two thousand years of being scattered throughout the world God is gathering the people back into the land again. And He is building up the nation once more.

Because the Chief Shepherd is soon going to appear. And when the LORD builds up Zion then shall He appear in His glory. He is in the process of building up Zion right now. The next big event on the world’s see will be the Lord’s return in glory.

And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

The lack of good shepherds, or evil shepherds. The results of an evil shepherd is that the people are not dwelling securely. They are not being protected and thus there is that fear. There is that dismay. And they are not being provided for and thus there is that lack.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

That promise of the righteous branch, the seed of David that God will raise up, a king to reign. And we know that that is none other than Jesus Christ. Turn back to Isaiah 11 verse one. Here Isaiah also predicts this branch that shall come.

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of this eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall the judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

So that promised branch out of Jesse. And here the righteous branch of David. Now, as we saw at the end of the previous chapter the branch of David, Jechoniah, who he just calls Coniah, this branch of David was cut off. It was an unrighteous branch. The kings were not reigning in righteousness. They were taking advantage of the people and so God for the sins of Coniah cut him off. And He said, “There shall not be any of the seed of Coniah sitting on the throne. Coniah, you are the end of the line as far as this branch of David that descended from Solomon.”

An unrighteous branch cut off. But there is going to come the righteous branch of David and that of course is Jesus. In Luke’s gospel chapter 3 we have the genealogy of Mary. We find that she is the descendant of David through David’s son Nathan who was a brother to Solomon. So another branch of David not through Solomon but through Nathan came the Messiah as God kept His promise to David. And the Messiah came through David’s seed but not through Coniah but through Nathan the son of David and on down to Mary.

Jeremiah chapter 33 again we see the promised branch where the LORD in verse 15.

In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

That is what Judah will be called because the Branch is going to be called Yahweh Tsidkenu, the LORD our righteousness. And then if you want to turn over to Zechariah 3:8,

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

And now turn to chapter 6 of Zechariah and verse 12,

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

So the promised branch that is to come. Now the Jew are looking for the Messiah. They believe that the Messiah is coming very soon because they are returned to the land. And they are prophesying of the soon return of the Messiah. They declare that they will recognize the Messiah by the fact that he will help them to rebuild the temple according as the prophecy of Zechariah declares. So, the righteous branch that has been promised. And in verse six,

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Now, we have talked about what are known as the compound names of God. The name of God is Yahweh or Jehovah we are not certain of the pronunciation. But most scholars believe that Yahweh is probably the correct pronunciation. We are prone to say Jehovah because it starts with a “J” in its transliteration into English but there is no “J” sound in the Hebrew language and the “J” takes on a “Y” sound so it sounds like Yehovah or Yahweh and thus Yahweh Tsidkenu means The LORD our Righteousness.

There are many compound names for Jehovah. Jehovah Jireh and Yahweh Shalom, the LORD is our peace. The word Yahweh literally means “I AM” it is a verb or “The Becoming One.” Now, God has revealed Himself by this name because God will become to you whatever your need might be. Are you sick? He will become your healer. Are you in need of help? He will become your helper. He will become to you whatever your need might be. Now the name of Jesus is Greek. The Hebrew name is Yashewa. It again is this Yahweh Shuah, a compound name of Jehovah which literally means that Jehovah or Yahweh has become our salvation.

When Joseph was in turmoil being engaged to Mary and discovering that she was pregnant and wondering just what he should do. Hid love for Mary was tearing him apart. For according to the Law he was to expose her and she would be stoned to death because of her betrayal. Becoming pregnant during the time that they were engaged. So he did not to expose her or to send her away. And while he was turmoil over this the angel of the LORD came to his in the night and said, “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit and she is going to bear a son and thou shall call his name Yeshua for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Now the mission of Christ was that of salvation. He said, “I have come to seek and to save those who were lost.” And thus his name implies his mission. Yahweh has become our salvation through Jesus Christ. So we are saved because of our faith in Jesus Christ. He has brought us salvation from our sin and the consequence of our sin. I do not have to face the judgment of God for my sins because Jesus took the judgment of God upon the cross for my sins. And thus God has given unto me a righteous standing before Him because of Jesus Christ. Thus the name by which he will be known in the kingdom age will be that of Yahweh Tsidkenu. Probably it would be better if it would have just stayed Yeshua, it would be easier to pronounce but in the kingdom age he will be known by the name of Yahweh Tsidkenu and they will probably shorten that down to Yah Tsidkenu but that is the name by which he will be called because it applies what is ours through him.

I have a righteous standing through God tonight through my faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible points out that Abraham is the father of all of us who believe in God’s promise. And God promised Abraham that through him the Messiah would come and Abraham believed the promise of God and God accounted the faith of Abraham for righteousness. Now if you look at the story carefully where the LORD said, “Go out Abraham and look up at the stars. Even as the stars in the heaven are innumerable so shall thy Seed be.” Seed, Paul points out in Galatians was singular not plural for he said that Seed was Christ. And we read that Abraham believed God and God accounted his faith for righteousness. He believed God concerning Lot, concerning the promised Messiah. So it was Abraham’s faith in Jesus Christ that God accounted Abraham righteous because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, as you believe in Jesus Christ God accounts you righteous for your faith in Jesus Christ even as he accounted Abraham righteous. We look back, he looked forward but it is the same faith in Jesus Christ that God accounts as righteousness. Thus, tonight I have a righteous standing before God and it is not predicated upon my works. And I thank God for that. It my righteous were predicated upon my works then it would be a variable. Some days I would be accounted righteous some days not so righteous some days miserable. It is just that way. Thus my standing before God would always be on a variable and I would have to hope that the LORD would come when I was in a good mood or on one of my good days. There would never be any assurance of my salvation. But because my righteousness is not predicated upon my good works, but it is predicated upon the work that Jesus Christ did for me in going to the cross and bearing my sin and receiving there the judgment of God for my sin thus by my faith in this work of Jesus Christ God accounts me righteous by believing and trusting in Jesus Christ and on the basis of that faith and trust God accounts me as righteous. So His name will be Yahweh Tsidkenu, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

This is a prophecy that is yet future, the Lord’s coming and His name in the kingdom age the king of David reigning his name being THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. That is yet future. Through out the history in the Old Testament the people in talking about God referred to Him as the God who brought us out of Egypt. That was the distinguishing feature to God’s relationship to them. The miracle of bringing them out of the slavery of Egypt creating them a nation, making a covenant with them. And they always looked back to that as the great sign that He was their God and a powerful God, He brought us out of Egypt.

But in the future, a greater miracle than even their deliverance out of Egypt will be their deliverance from the whole world and being brought back into the land. And that is happening today. Right now there is a tremendous migration of Jews from Russia on into Israel. And it is a miracle. A miracle that we did not dream two years ago could be possible. And yet God said, “I will say to those of the north, let them go.” And now they are letting them go. And God is gathering them. Notice here, from the north country, here again a prophecy that the LORD which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country. And then from all of the countries whither He had driven them. That tremendous miracle of bringing the Jews out of Ethiopia just within the past year. It is amazing how God is bringing them back.

But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and form all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

What is happening over there is quite interesting as we are meddling with their internal affairs and seeking to bring pressure to bear upon them to create within their borders a home land for the Palestinians. God hear declares that it is their own land. We would do well to let the whole thing alone. I am sort of reminded of the king Amaziah when he challenged Jehu to a fight. He said, “Listen you have had a victory over the Edomites, just sit at home and enjoy that. Why should you meddle to your own hurt?” Meddling can be dangerous and meddling with the people of God and the things of God is a dangerous thing. God said that He would bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. But this peace process. The very fact that this peace process is going on to me is fascinating. It is something that we need to watch with interest. Because I am interested in what kind of a covenant is going to be made with Israel and who will be the leaders in establishing this covenant that will be made. At this time God is fulfilling this prophecy.

Now Jeremiah responds, the weeping prophet, he is always crying:

Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.

His heart was breaking because of the false prophets. God’s word was in his own heart. And the false prophets were coming against him and they were saying the exactly opposite to what he was saying. He was saying, “You are going to fall and be taken away to Babylon.” They were saying, “Thus saith the LORD, we are going to drive the Babylonians out of the land. We are going to dwell safely here and you are going to prosper here.” And Jeremiah was saying, “No, the Babylonians are going to conquer you, you are going to be carried away as captives to Babylon.” So there was this conflict. God’s word was in his heart but yet these men were saying the exact opposite. And so that just broke Jeremiah’s heart to see the people following the false prophets.

And you know that is always difficult. The false prophets usually have a lot of flare and a lot of flash. Quite often white shoes. But, they are usually quite demonstrative and quite exciting and people go for that and they fleece the flock of God. It is interesting that Peter in warning concerning the false prophets gave as an ear mark their attempt to make merchandise of you. Know that God is not broke. Know that God is not dependent upon your support. Know that God is not headed for bankruptcy if you do not go and borrow money to bail Him out. And any so called prophet of God who makes an emphasis upon giving and upon money according to Peter is a false prophet seeking by these feigned words to make merchandise of you. “Here is our house friends, burned to the ground and all we have are ashes. But you know, we will find a tent someplace.” Feigned words to make merchandise of you. “Oh poor brother, let’s send him some money.” But they are feigned words to make merchandise of you.

And crowds of people will go. You know it hurts me that over into Eastern Europe where the door is so open and the people are so hungry. They have been in this darkness of communism and they are so hungry to hear the gospel, to know the Bible and these fellows have gone in with all of their tracks on this prosperity gospel. It is flooding into Eastern Europe. And I think what a tragedy that they would flood this area of the world that is so hungry and open right now that they would get in there ahead of us with all of their junk and we seem to be so slow in getting the truth.

Jeremiah’s heart was broken because the false prophets had the ears of the people. They did not want to hear the truth. That liked the things that the false prophets were saying. And the false prophets were saying that they were going to have peace in this place. And the LORD was saying that judgment was going to come. Well, nobody wants to hear that judgment is going to come. I would rather hear that I am going to hear that I am going to be rich and drive whatever kind of car that I want then to hear that it is going to get tough. And so Jeremiah’s heart was broken over the false prophets.

For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth;

In a spiritual sense, they were worshipping these other gods. Now God had sworn that if you turn from Me, I will turn from you. If you forsake Me, I will forsake you. If you will not keep My covenant then these are the judgments that are going to come. And God had sworn that their disobedience would bring a corresponding judgment of God and thus because of the oath that God made the land is mourning and the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, the oasis have been dried.

the pleasant place of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.

There was that whole corruption even within the religious system.

Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness:

That is pretty tough, walking on ice in the darkness.

they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.

That is the visitation of God’s judgment against them for their turning from the LORD. Their wickedness and turning from God and so they are in slippery places, they will soon fall as God’s judgment comes. They had before them the advantage of being able to see what happened in the northern kingdom of Samaria, their brethren Israel, the nation of Israel that was living in the northern area. They saw that they were carried away as captives by the Assyrians. Because of the wickedness and sin. Because of the false prophets, the prophets of Baal. They saw what happened in the northern kingdom. Now, that should have been sufficient warning. They should have learned the lesson. But they did not. They are going into the same path and following the same evil that took their brethren into captivity and rather than being warned by the example they are following after the same pattern. So the LORD said:

And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

God said that they are corrupt, wicked, filled with adultery, they are doing horrible things, they walk in lies, they are evil doers and even as Sodom and Gomorrah was to be judged and was judged by God so they are to be judged.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

God is saying not to listen to them. They are not really giving you My word, they are speaking out of their own hearts. It is not God’s word.

They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his won heart, No evil shall come upon you.

They were speaking words of prosperity and comfort to the evil and wicked, to those who despise God. They are saying, “Oh it is going to be great, we are to conquer and all.” And they were prophesying lies. They were saying peace , peace when there was no peace.

For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

They have not. They have not heard the counsel of the LORD. They were not walking in the word of the LORD.

Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

Right now there is confusion because Jeremiah is saying one thing the false prophets are saying another thing. But Jeremiah said that in the latter days that they would understand it perfectly. The interesting thing about prophecy is that as we are coming into the latter days and in the fulfillment of the prophecies we are beginning to understand more perfectly the word of prophecy.

In the book of Daniel chapter 12 as the LORD was finishing the prophecies with Daniel He said to Daniel, “Now seal up the book for it is for the time of the end. For in the last days knowledge shall be increased and people will run to and fro throughout the entire earth.” The prophecies were to be sealed because they did not understand because it was not for their time, it was not for their day. But in the latter days the LORD said that they would understand. Seal it until the latter days and there will be the understanding of these things of prophecy. And now it is amazing how clearly the book of Daniel can be understood. Where for so long it was a mystery.

We didn’t know the things that he was really talking about. But after they came to pass you can say, “Oh look, yes, I can see now. That is exactly what Daniel was talking about. Look, yes, that is how it has happened.” And thus the understanding of prophecy and thus in the latter years they will understand it perfectly. So this whole field of prophecy is becoming more exciting all the time as we see the LORD putting the pieces together and the picture now is becoming much clearer. Before it was like a puzzle and there were not many pieces put together in the thing yet. But every prophecy that is being fulfilled is a new piece in the puzzle and now the picture is beginning to take shape and there is only a few pieces left. So the more pieces that are put in the more clear the total picture becomes. So we watch God putting the pieces in, we watch the picture coming together and prophecy becomes an extremely exciting subject as the whole picture is just about complete. Just a few more pieces and they are going in very rapidly and the glorious coming again of our Lord, the righteous branch to establish His kingdom here upon the earth.

I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. but if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

Had they listened to Me they would not have encouraged the people that things were going to be okay. They would have warned the people of the evil that is coming.

Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

Somehow they had developed this idea and concept that God was far off in the heavens and thus He was not aware of all of the things that were going on. I have to think that these false prophets today have that same kind of a concept. As they are out fleecing the flock of God they cannot really believe that God can approve of these things. They must think that God is way off someplace and they are just getting by with what they are doing. But God said, “I am not a God afar off, I am a God at hand. And these things that you are doing and thinking you are getting by, thinking that they are in secret. You don’t hide from Me. I see because I fill the heaven and the earth.” That omnipresence of God filling the heaven and the earth. The LORD is here and I stand in the presence of the LORD constantly.

I think that this is a consciousness that we need to develop. That I live constantly in the presence of God. God is here. I think that sometimes we create false impressions in our prayers when we pray at the beginning of a service and say, “Oh LORD, it is so good to gather tonight in Your presence. To be here in Your presence this evening.” You don’t gather in the presence of God, you are in the presence of God wherever you are. God does not dwell here as opposed to some place else. God was with you when you left your house. God was with you when you were driving in the car. Now, Lord, is has been so good to have been in Your presence tonight. Bless us as we go out now, like we are leaving the presence of God here in the church. You don’t leave the presence of God. He goes with you. And if you are crooked and ripping someone off, God is there. If you have corrupt business practices and you are taking advantage of someone then God is there.

You can come and look very sanctimonious in the church and you can close your eyes and sing the choruses but God sees what you are doing during the week. He is not a God that is far off, He is a God that is at hand. And we need to have that consciousness and awareness. As Paul said to the Athenian philosophers, “For in Him we live and we move and we have our being.” I am surrounded, I cannot escape. He is the God who fills the heaven and the earth and we need to be conscious of this.

I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.

These guys that have their dreams and visions they can be very exciting. And people get excited. Oh, how sad. I was watching that prime time and that poor lady. He called out her name and said, “God wants you to give a thousand dollars tonight. I have dreamed, I have had a vision to give a thousand dollars.” And she was so excited because God knew her name. Well, God bless her. He will bless her. Her heart was right. But, boy, I tell you that God is going to take care of that evangelist too. And it won’t be blessing! It will be hot.

How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;

That is the tragic thing. When they get into it they actually deceive their own hearts. They are deceptive, they deceive others but ultimately they are the ones that are deceived because they think they are getting by with it. And they are ministering out of this thing of deception.

Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

So people get all excited over the dreams and over the visions and over these prophecies and over these words.

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

The LORD calls the dreams and the visions and all chaff. One thing about chaff is that it is not nourishing. You cannot make a diet of chaff and become strong. People do not really grow spiritually over exciting spiritual phenomena. Faith is not developed over observing exciting spiritual phenomena. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And the only way in which you can experience growth is through the feeding on the word. It is the spiritual food that feeds the spirit of man. You can feed your soul, the psyche, by experiences. And these astounding phenomenal experiences, they can feed the soul of man but they become very soulish experiences, fleshly experiences. The only thing that will really feed your spirit is the word of God. It feeds the spirit of man. That is the only way you can really grow, is upon the word of God.

And people who are following around the country these evangelists and looking for the spectacular and the exciting things and all of these dreams and visions and prophecies, these people stay in an arrested state of spiritual development. And thus Paul writing to the Corinthians who were really in to this upbeat hype kind of stuff, he wrote to them and said, “You are carnal. You are babes in Christ. You have never developed or grown.” There is an arrested spiritual development because true spiritual growth only comes through feeding on the word of God. That is the wheat. So if a prophet has a dream, let him tell his dream but he who has My word let him speak My word faithfully for what is the chaff to the wheat?

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

The power of the word of God. It is like a fire consuming the dross from our life. It is like a hammer breaking the rock in pieces.

Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

In other words, they are aping what the other guy says. There are a lot of fellows talking about you becoming god and you are gods. I mean this is one of the latest things. And these guys have to all sort of outdo the other in their declarations your godhood. And they have the people saying, “I am god.” “Faith, the creative power of faith. You can speak into your wealth, you can create your own realties. Say, ‘I am god.’” I could do it but I am afraid that I would burn also. I have respect for the word of God. But they steal their words from their neighbor. There is a lot of plagiarism.

Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

The Lord does not like you saying stuff that He does not say and then giving Him credit for it. Be careful whenever you say, “Thus saith the LORD.” As a phrase you have to be careful of it. If it is written in the Bible then you can say that the LORD said. That is good. You are on good ground. But you have to be careful of that. The LORD does not appreciate people going around saying, “Thus saith the LORD” if the LORD has not really spoken. I have a lot of people come and say, “I have a word of the LORD for you.” And sometimes when they tell me I say, “That is good, I receive that. The Lord has been speaking to my heart on that issue.” But there has been people that I have just told them plainly, “I don’t accept that as a word from the LORD at all. That is a word from your own heart. That is not God speaking to me.” God is against those who say, “The LORD saith.”

Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

They will profit themselves but they will not profit the people. The people will not be profited in the long run.

And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.

This became a popular phrase. They would go around and say, oh the burden of the LORD. This is the burden of the LORD put on my heart. This is the burden of the LORD. And they were going around using this. It was a phrase that was over worked. It was used by the false prophets. The LORD said, they go around talking about burdens and I did not put any burden on them. There are people today that talk many times about the burden of the LORD. “Oh, it is so hard, it is so heavy, I don’t know if I am going to make it. Please pray for me. This is such a heavy burden. God has laid on me such a heavy, heavy burden. And I am afraid, this is such a heavy burden God laid on me”

Oh? Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Tell me about your heavy burden brother? I believe that we can take upon ourselves things that the Lord did not put on us. I believe that our friends or well-meaning people can put on us burdens that we try to carry. And the burden that our friends or people put on us can sometimes be very heavy. But don’t blame the Lord. “Oh the Lord put on me this heavy burden. I am just about ready to go under.” That is not the Lord’s burden. Hid burden is light. You have taken on something that the Lord did not put on you. You are trying to do something more than what the Lord has called you to do.

Doing the will and the work of the Lord is glorious because God gives you the strength and the ability to do it. And thus it does not wear you out. It does not drive you to distraction, it doesn’t burn you out. I hear so much about pastoral burnout. They even have seminars on pastoral burnout. If a pastor burns out it is because he is trying to carry burdens that are not from the Lord. He is trying to do it himself in the power and the energy of his own flesh. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So here they are going around saying, oh the burden of the LORD the burden of the LORD. God said that if they come and say, “what is the burden of the LORD?” just say what burden? If you use that phrase God says that He is going to forsake you. “I don’t like that. I don’t want to hear that anymore.”

And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD< I will even punish that man and his house. Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?

Just get rid of this phrase, the burden of the LORD. Don’t even ask what the burden of the LORD is. Just say, “Well what has the LORD spoken to your heart lately about. What is the LORD speaking to you about?” Use that kind of phrase and get rid of this burden of the LORD phrase that has been overworked.

And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

You have perverted God’s words so you are not to use this phrase anymore.

Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken? But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD< and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD; Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

The LORD is serious on this. Leave that phrase alone, the burden of the LORD. Because He has just had. Don’t use this phrase.

Father we thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. What a joy it is to serve You. What a privilege and what a pleasure. Lord, how we thank You for the energizing of Your Holy Spirit and for the leading of Your Holy Spirit. What a privilege it is to just live for You and to serve You in the fullness of the power of the Spirit. Lord, even as Jeremiah’s heart was breaking because of the false prophets who were giving false hope to the people, speaking to them words out of their own hearts, not Your word, taking the people captive, taking advantage of the people and fleecing Your flock, Lord, so our hearts grieve over the things that are done in the Name of Jesus Christ that bring reproach to You. Lord, we remember Your word that says judgment must begin at the house of the Lord. Lord, we do ask that You would clean Your house. Father we pray that You would restore to the church and to the Name of Jesus Christ dignity, honesty, that we might above reproach, Lord. Bless Your church, Your people. May we grow strong that in these last days we might be able to stand against all of the onslaught of evil that is coming and be Your light in this dark world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7291
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