God’s Purposes Will Stand


Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Go, tell Hananiah, ‘Thus says the Lord: You have broken wooden bars, but you have made in their place bars of iron. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.’” And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the Lord.’”

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.

This is the purpose that is purposed
concerning the whole earth,
and this is the hand that is stretched out
over all the nations.
For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
and who will turn it back? Isaiah 14:26-27 ESV


In 1666 the King’s bakery in London broke out in flames. It was summer, and the weather had been hot and dry. The blaze took hold and soon 300 houses collapsed as the fire spread rapidly. King Charles II ordered that houses in the path of the flames should be pulled down, but this didn’t stop the fire. Soon the king was joining others in bucket brigades, trying to put the fire out. They even blew up houses in the path of the flames with gunpowder to try to stop it, but by the time they finally got the fire out, only one-fifth of London was left standing. St. Paul’s Cathedral and 89 other churches, almost all the government buildings, many halls and markets, and over 13,000 homes were destroyed. But the people of London didn’t abandon their city. Instead, they rebuilt it to be a better and cleaner and safer place. An architect named Christopher Wren designed the new city and rebuilt many of the churches as well as a beautiful new St. Paul’s Cathedral. The disaster didn’t stop Londoners in their purposes.

When the false prophet Hananiah told lies about God’s purposes, he even broke the wooden yoke that Jeremiah had been wearing. Jeremiah had used the yoke as a picture of the idea that the people needed to obey the king of Babylon, and after Hananiah took it off his shoulders and broke it, God told Jeremiah to tell Hananiah that the Lord would make a stronger yoke, one made out of iron. God’s purposes would not be stopped. He was working out his purposes in the world by bringing Nebuchadnezzar to power, and one of his purposes was to punish his people for their sins. The Lord’s judgment also fell on Hananiah for lying to the people in God’s name. The Lord said that Hananiah would die before the year was over, and seven months later he died.

One of the Lord’s purposes in our broken world is to judge and punish sin, but all through history God has had an even greater purpose. God loves us and he doesn’t want us to be separated from him forever. His purpose from the very beginning, when our first parents sinned, was to save us and bring us back to himself. That’s why Jesus came. When he died on the cross, he took God’s judgment and punishment for all the sins of the world, and because of Jesus all our sins are forgiven. God has made us his children, and we will live forever with him in his heavenly kingdom. Nothing will ever stop the Lord’s purpose to save us and keep us his.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving purpose to love us and save us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.




True and False Prophets


Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord, and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke them. And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” But Jeremiah the prophet went his way. Jeremiah 28:5-11 ESV

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Psalm 4:1-4 ESV


One invention that made war an even more terrible thing than it had been before is the machine gun. The machine gun made it possible to quickly and automatically shoot many rounds of ammunition at the enemy. It completely changed how World War I was fought, because to protect themselves from machine gun fire soldiers dug themselves into trenches. But the interesting thing about machine guns is that their inventor, Hiram Maxim, thought that they would bring peace. When people asked him if his invention would make war more terrible and cruel, he said instead that it would make war impossible. Many people believed this. They thought that the death and suffering a machine gun could cause would make nations want to work for peace and avoid getting involved in such cruel warfare. But this was a lie, unfortunately. Wars continue to happen, and more and more cruel inventions make them even more devastating.

When Hananiah told the people that within two years God would return the true king and all the exiles to their own country, many people believed him. Hananiah even broke the wooden yoke that Jeremiah had made to give the people a picture of obeying the Babylonian empire. Jeremiah wished that what Hananiah said was true, because of course he wanted his people to know happier times. But Jeremiah said that the only way to tell if a prophet was telling the truth is if what he predicted would come true. Jeremiah knew that the truth was that the people were under God’s judgment, and that there would be more war and trouble to come. Jeremiah was a true prophet of the Lord, but he didn’t argue with Hananiah. He simply walked away, and he left Hananiah and his lies in God’s hands.

We sometimes want to believe lies that are positive and happy. We want to believe that through our own efforts we can bring an end to war, or cure all the sicknesses in the world, or even put an end to death. But these are lies, because only God can do these things. God came to us in Jesus to destroy sin and death and all the forces of evil forever by dying on the cross and rising again. Because of what Jesus did for us, we know that we will live forever in his heavenly kingdom, where there won’t be any more sickness or death or war. In the meantime, it pleases God if we work to heal sickness and pain and to bring peace. We shouldn’t be surprised or worried, though, when we see war and evil and disease, and we can be confident that God will bring all our suffering to an end in his time. We can leave it all in God’s hands.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to destroy sin and death and evil, and help us to trust you to work for good in our broken world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



A Liar


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.