The Lord gave Ezekiel prophecy against false prophets. He doesn’t like it when people use His name to claim their words are His. This is not a only a thing of the past. It happens frequently today. Verses 2-3 read,
“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ 3 Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”
Verses 6-7 reads,
“They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. 7 Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”
That happens all too often today. People say, “God said!” or “The Lord will do…” But He hasn’t said or promised anything of the kind. They may say these things to encourage someone, they may assume their own hearts’ desires are really the will of God, or they may blatantly make up a “word” in order to manipulate the Lord. Whatever their motivations, what they are doing is wrong, blasphemous, and dangerous.
We have no right to make promises for God. Imagine the person hearing the promise and waiting for God to fulfill a word He never gave. They felt good at the time they received it, but what about when the miracle didn’t happen, the provision didn’t manifest, or the blessing passed them by? Will they blame the false prophet? No, they’ll blame the Lord, and themselves. They will follow the lies, and rather than come to the place God wants them, they will seek gratification of false promises.
True prophecy doesn’t always sound good. Sometimes the Lord’s proclamations are difficult. They often require action which may be contrary to our desires or challenging to carry out. His prophecy is always in love and with reason but often tough. The false prophets of Ezekiel’s day continued to tell the people what they wanted to hear, ‘peace for Jerusalem’ instead of telling them to build a wall and protect themselves and to prepare for battle and exile.
When they did say build a wall it wasn’t for protection and war and didn’t come from the Lord, it came from their selfishness and came with deception and decoration to make people feel good about themselves and their situation. The person receiving good news pays much better than the one hearing bad news. Verses 14-16 read,
“And I will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 15 Thus will I spend my wrath upon the wall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you, The wall is no more, nor those who smeared it, 16 the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, declares the Lord God.”
The Lord will not be manipulated. We can’t force Him to keep promises He didn’t make. He loves us too much for that. He’ll destroy the false promises we seek instead of Him and He will destroy the people who claim His word when He didn’t speak. Why does He take such offense to speaking for Him when He didn’t say it? Because although what He has to say is not always what we want to hear, it is always to bring us to Him. When people hear a false message, no matter how innocuous it may seem it can cause them to reject the Truth of Christ and seek a lie like prosperity or a false god who they may think is Jesus but is not the Word, the Truth, the Way, or the Life Himself. Lying to people, sugar-coating God’s Word, and speaking from our own heart rather than the Lord’s heart leads people to die. Verses 17-19 read,
“And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts. Prophesy against them 18 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls! Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive? 19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to my people, who listen to lies.”
God’s word is meant to encourage the righteous to stay the course. It is meant to move the lost to Jesus. It is meant to stop the wicked from their ways. When we give people words from our hearts and minds instead of God’s we lead them astray and that can lead to death. God will deal harshly with people who use His name wrongly. He will not let them continue to lie and lead people to Hell. Verses 22-23 read,
“Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life, 23 therefore you shall no more see false visions nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand. And you shall know that I am the Lord.”
It can be tempting to offer the person going through a terrible time some easy words like “If God brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it.” or “God will not give you any more than you can handle.” But those encouraging little phrases can keep a person from calling on Jesus. Telling a person “God will heal you, He doesn’t want His children to be sick, can make a person think there is a promise that God didn’t make. Rather than calling out to the Lord God, they will call out to false prophet for some more greeting card phrases and in the end be encouraged all the way to Hell with a smile on their face.