“From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds. They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.”
Just in case you didn’t know it, God hates hypocrisy. It is probably one of the things that God does not tolerate. It’s something that we can understand. We, as human beings, hate it when people go behind our back. We usually won’t care as much if a friend of ours does something that we don’t approve of, but when we find out that they lie and try to hide their behavior, it hurts us that much more.
God doesn’t mind it so much when someone lies to Him or tries to hide. I mean, He is God. He knows the content of your heart. There’s nothing really to hide. He will call you on hypocrisy and expect you to turn from it. It’s not really hypocrisy when the person you’re hiding from already knows you’re lying. Then, the only person you’re fooling is yourself.
In these verses and throughout the book of Jeremiah, we see how much God despises those who lie to His people. Why? Well, because when you mislead others away from Him, that means leading people from one of the most meaningful relationships they can ever experience. In the book of Jeremiah, God looks at His people, Israel, and knows how much pain they’re suffering, and when He looks at the self-proclaimed prophets of that day, He sees how they coddle the people with lies.
God’s business is healing the wayward heart. We can go back to Jeremiah 3:22 to see that. Israel had started to turn toward actions and idols that did not provide them with the satisfaction that their souls so ardently desired. They were missing out on a relationship with the Almighty, and they were not able to notice what was missing. A lot of it was because the religious people of that day were telling them that everything was okay and that God was still on their side.
The religious elite were spewing false prophecies and offering self-help methods to help found a sound relationship with the divine. These priests forgot about how God was seeking an intimate relationship with the people of Israel. God offered the people healing, renewal, and the eternal blessing of Himself. Yet, they continued to feed lies to the people by saying that their works were enough. They were the epitome of the blind leading the blind. They offered superficial treatments for a mortal wound that plagued the people.
God saw through their hypocrisy, but the people of Israel were not able.
So, God sent Jeremiah to tell everyone about the loving God who wanted nothing but to return to communion with His people, and they refused to listen. The religious elite only got louder, leading the people farther and farther away.
So, this is a reminder for the Church. Pastors, writers, and speakers, do you constantly seek God and inspect the content of your own heart in order to ensure that you are leading those who follow you closer to God? Listeners, servants, and believers, do you constantly test the words of those you listen to against the words of Scripture and that of the Spirit?