Israel’s False Prophets Condemned
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 13:1-23, Ezekiel 14:1-23, Isaiah 55:8-11
BY Seana Scott
My family of five moved across the country and hired movers to ship our books, Christmas ornaments, everything. The truck was scheduled to arrive the day after we took ownership of our house.
They never showed up. Never. Showed. Up.
My children’s handmade footprint ornaments, my childhood teddy bear, our library of books—all gone. And the movers stopped answering their phones. We were left with five suitcases of summer clothes, a few LEGO pieces—and an empty house. We trusted deceptive words with devastating consequences.
Thousands of years earlier the nation of Israel similarly listened to deceptions with much greater, devastating results.
False prophets said, “this is the LORD’s declaration” when indeed it was not (Ezekiel 13:6). They lied for profit (vv.18–19) and declared made-up visions (vv.6–9). They proclaimed “peace” when there was no peace (vv.10,16). They allowed wickedness to flourish while they disheartened the righteous—to the point of death (vv.19–22). And the people believed them.
It can seem amazing that the people trusted these deceptive leaders. Maybe because the prophets told the people of Judah what they wanted to hear. But the lies of the false prophets ensnared the people of Judah and their leaders set up idols in their hearts (Ezekiel 14:1–8). So the Lord declared that He would rescue His people from the false prophets’ trappings (Ezekiel 13:23) through judgment coming to Judah, though some would be spared (Ezekiel 14:21–23).
The people of Judah serve as a great warning for us to look closely at the words we listen to and the words we speak on behalf of God. This passage feels like a high school lab dissection of our hearts. What influencers do we follow? What teachers do we trust? What do we tell others about what God says?
We can all be vulnerable to deceptive leadership that claims to proclaim the Word of God, but indeed simply proclaims what is profitable. We can also be enticed as Christians to tell people what they want to hear—rather than speak truth in love, even when it costs us.
The Lord declared judgment on Judah (Ezekiel 14:12–23), but later He also declared restoration (Ezekiel 36:16–38). Even though Israel rebelled against the Lord, He would move in extravagant ways to restore her (Ezekiel 36:16–38).
In a small way, my moving story reminds me of Jerusalem’s devastation and restoration. We eventually received most of our belongings. When I opened the first box, I pulled out Safety Bear—a tattered one-eared teddy gifted to me as a child to “keep me safe” from California earthquakes. I held it to my chest. The worn fuzzy bear’s arms rested on my shoulders and felt like a hug from God.
This Lenten season, may we take comfort and warning: God’s words accomplish God’s will (Isaiah 55:11)—unlike the deceiving prophets who waited for their made-up words to come true, and they never did (Ezekiel 13:6).