Chapter 13:1-7 (ESV) - The word of the Lord came to me: “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!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the Lord. 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. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the Lord,’ although I have not spoken?”
Question to consider: How do we hear the word of God today?
The word “woe” is not frequently used today, but it signifies a pronouncement of judgment for a particular action. It was meant to create a sense of misery and foreboding in the one who received the woe in order for them to repent and change their course of action.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this study, the prophets in scripture did not need a special training course on hearing the voice of God. When the Spirit wanted Ezekiel to witness and understand something, He grabbed him by the hair and dragged him to the place where he could witness and understand it. When Abraham learned of the judgment that was coming upon Sodom and Gomorrah, the avenging angels physically showed up at his tent and discussed it over a meal. It was the false prophet who claimed their own feelings and thoughts were the word of the Lord.
Not only did they falsely attribute their own words to the Lord, but they expected God to fulfill it. In doing so they violated God’s word, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,” for they tied God’s name to a lie.
Today, these kinds of false prophets fill the airwaves and social media feeds. They profess to be trained to hear the voice of God, and remarkably, it is always a vague platitude, political opinion or general prediction of prosperity for those who “have enough faith”, and yet God’s word in the prophets of scripture were always one of two things: revelations about the true “Son of man”, Christ Jesus, or a call for God’s people to return to Him in faith.
If you want to hear the audible word of God, simply read the passage above the “question to consider” out loud. We know that is the true word of God because the judgment came to pass soon after Ezekiel told it to the people. As disappointing as it may be that we don’t have apostles and prophets today, we are fortunate to live in a time in which we have the complete revelation of God and can see how He worked through history to bring about His plan of redemption through Christ.
Dear heavenly father, please help us to discern the word that You have already revealed to us so that we may clearly express the good news of salvation through Christ. We look forward to the day in which we can see with our eyes and hear with our ears the one who reconciled us to You. Amen.