In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hananiah the son of Azzur, the prophet from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord‘s house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, declares the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah 28:1-4 ESV
“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace. Jeremiah 6:13-14 ESV
Aunt Sadie had cancer, and the doctors said there wasn’t anything they could do for her. It was 1887, and there weren’t the treatments for many kinds of cancer that we have today. But there were patent medicines being sold everywhere. These were made and sold by dishonest people who claimed that their medicines would cure just about any illness, even cancer. Aunt Sadie believed this lie, and she kept buying a patent medicine and taking it every day. But the medicine was only a little bit of vegetable oil and some alcohol. It really couldn’t cure cancer. Her doctor warned her that the medicine wasn’t any good, but Aunt Sadie kept on believing that she would be cured of her cancer.
The people left in the southern kingdom were listening to and believing in lies like this. There was a prophet named Hananiah who said that soon their true king would be coming back to Jerusalem and all the people that had gone with him, and that Nebuchadnezzar would bring back the temple vessels also. Hananiah said that all this would happen within two years. The people believed in this lie, and because of that they didn’t listen to Jeremiah when he told them the truth.
It’s dangerous to believe in lies, especially when they promise good things that aren’t the truth. The most dangerous lie we can believe in is that we can find our way back to God all by ourselves. Some people say that God isn’t concerned about our sins, or that our own efforts and goodness will make God love us. These are dangerous lies, because they lead us away from Jesus. Jesus said that he is the only way back to our Heavenly Father. Our sins have separated us from God, but Jesus came to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Because of what Jesus did for us, God forgives our sins and calls us his own children. That’s the real truth, and it’s good news worth believing and sharing!
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our way back to our Heavenly Father. Amen.