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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Daily Devotions for Week 14 False Prophets

Week 14 Day 2 Devotions

Be Slow to Chide and Swift to Bless

“Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets, O Israel, are like jackals among ruins.” Ezekiel 13:3-4

In Richard Foster's Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible {HarperSanFrancisco (2005)} the following comments are made which can speak to us as we spend more time on the subject of false prophets.

“Ezekiel’s blunt words shocked his compatriots, who could not imagine that he was speaking the truth. The people were accustomed to the benign words of those who delivered comforting sermons. Ezekiel called these crowd-pleasers false prophets who only pretended that they heard the word of God. They whitewashed the real trouble that confronted the people in their relationship with God, “saying ‘Peace’, when there is no peace” (13:10). The exiles were in widespread denial and could not face the painful truth that Ezekiel voiced. To break through this thick shell of denial Ezekiel used dramatic signs and outrageous metaphors.

“The exilic community was challenged by one of the most difficult dilemmas that can face the people of God - discerning true from false prophecy. Ezekiel's prophetic voice did not sound sensible. In fact, it was rude and horrifying, and initially Ezekiel's preaching was rejected as foolishness. But the exile lasted a long time. The prophet stayed in the midst of the people and staked his life on the claim that, on the other side of terrible judgment, God had not given up on the people. Over time the exiles changed their verdict and judged Ezekiel's testimony to be the truth. The communal practice of discernment - rooted in the Spiritual Disciplines - demands long-term patience and daring openness to an unexpected, even unwanted, word.”

Yesterday we said that the starting point for us in the whole area of responding to the truth that there are false prophets around, is to be on the lookout for them. In other words believe that they are a possible threat to your spiritual well-being. Today we would add to that by saying: Be slow to judge, pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and be prepared to stretch your understanding before shouting out: “False prophet! False prophet!”

Believe evil of no one unless fully proved; take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction you can on everything. You know the judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side.
                                                         (John Wesley's Rules of a Helper)

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