Cross thoughts: Christian ideas seen in Sudanese every day life.
Just before the rainy season roads can look in a very good condition. However, after heavy rains have fallen, they can become so churned up that even the strongest and heaviest vehicles cannot pass.
In the ‘Christian’ world some preachers promise an easy and clear life for everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ alone. People who are attracted to this message may quickly become discouraged when they meet difficulty after difficulty. I have even heard some say: “God has let me down”.
I want to explain where the wrong is in this example. Note: it is with the preachers, not with the ‘common’ people.
Ezekiel 13 warns us against “false prophets”. Every generation and every place has its fair share of these destructive people, both men and women. It is essential for every Christian to learn to discern the “true” from “false”. This means seeing prophets discerningly, not going merely by outward appearance.
Basically the false prophet will offer you what you want. Knowing what suits you he or she will bring something from his own thoughts and speak it out. He may put, “Thus says the Lord” in front of it or behind it, in order to give it some appearance of Christianity and Bible authority.
Biblically, the “greatest challenge from false prophets came to Jeremiah and Ezekiel, possibly because they spoke at particularly crucial times in the history of God’s people”. Tewoldemedhin Habtu (Eritrea) Africa Bible Commentary (Word Alive: Nairobi) p. 948.
Ezekiel 13:1-10 reveal prophets who use their own imaginations. They foolishly follow their own wants and wishes, not God’s revealed word and will. They do not work hard as Christians on needful practical issues. Their so-called visions are untrue, but made to look real. They all too easily lead God’s people astray. They appeal to our “self” life, our personal and societal desires.
Vs 17-19 show prophetesses who also use their own imaginations and join this with amulets, magic, types of dress and witchcraft. God describes them as “lying to my people” vs 19. It may be a mix of bad and good. He warns He is totally against all such people and their so-called “ministries” 13:8,9,15-16,21-23.
Four times in Ezekiel 13 God says He will do things that the discerning heart will recognise as coming directly from His hand. “Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord” vs9, 14, 21, 23. The discerning heart learns to understand and choose what to accept. God helps us through our lives with clear, unmistakable guidance to follow.
Yes, it is hard to take a stand against false prophets. But nobody said taking up your cross and following Jesus would be easy.