You just won a new car, or you just had your new car stolen. What would you like hear? Yes, I know. This question does not even deserve an answer.
There was a conversation I read a few days ago between Hananiah and Jeremiah.
10 Then the prophet Hananiah took hold of the yoke that was on the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 11 He said before all the people, “This is what the Lord says: Just as this yoke has been broken, I will break the yoke of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar from the neck of all the nations within two years.” Then the prophet Jeremiah walked away. (Jeremiah 28)
Sounds like a good message, right? God will rescue us and break the yoke of our captivity. However, there is a problem. This message was not from God.
12 Sometime after Hananiah had broken the yoke that was on Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord told him: 13 Go, say to Hananiah, The Lord proclaims: You have broken a wooden yoke, but I will replace it with an iron one. 14 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I will put iron yokes on the necks of all these nations, and they will serve Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar; even the wild animals will be subject to him!15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah: “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord hasn’t sent you. All you are doing is persuading these people to believe a lie. 16 Therefore, the Lord proclaims: I’m going to send you somewhere—right off the face of the earth! Before the year ends, you will die since you have incited rebellion against the Lord.” (Jeremiah 28)
How would you like to be the prophet Jeremiah? What story would you rather tell? If you were the one listening, which story would you rather hear, the yoke has been broken or you will have one of iron in place?
Paul warns Timothy:
3 There will come a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. They will collect teachers who say what they want to hear because they are self-centered. (2 Timothy 4)
This really does not seem to be a new caution. It appears to apply in the past as well as it does today.
We often hear what we want to hear.
I am not asking you to question everything you hear or think. However, it is worth the reminder that we are pretty good at hearing what we want to hear. It is often a worthwhile exercise to take the time and make sure we consider the other side.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)