People love to hear what makes them feel good. Paul writes:
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove , rebuke , exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Paul tells us that as the end of time grows closer, more and more “seemingly religious people” will actually turn from the truth and follow after lies. They will oppose those who preach God’s Word and instead look for others who will tickle their ears. This is not only foolish, it is also devastating. Jesus said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:32) No matter how appealing a lie may seem to be, it is still a lie and therefore incapable of doing us any good.
During Israel’s time of rebellion, they had many prophets and teachers who told them what they wanted to hear. We read from the book of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 14:13 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. 14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
The false prophets promised the people peace and prosperity. “You’re not in any danger”, they told them. “You shall not have famine. Instead, God will continue to bless you.” This message pleased the people and no doubt caused the false prophets to become very popular. After all, who doesn’t like to hear something positive?
Yet all of their prophecy was a lie. God had not sent them and they were not proclaiming His message. God was doing all He could to cause His people to repent of their sins and turn back to righteousness and therefore the lies of these false prophets only angered Him even more.
Jeremiah 14:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.
The false prophets who said that there would be no sword or famine would themselves be consumed by sword and famine. And the people who embraced their false messages would be slaughtered and cast out into the streets and there would be none to bury them.
The parallelism between Israel and America is shocking. Although there is a lot of spirituality, there is very little righteousness. Few in this culture of open-mindedness and tolerance are seeking God’s truth. We are as Paul says – those who “look like we are religious but deny God’s power to change us.” (2 Tim 3:5)
Let us be people of the truth, dear brethren. For only God’s truth can make someone free.