Recall in Jeremiah, we read how Zedekiah had listened to the false prophets against the true prophet God had sent, and Jeremiah was hated for his messages. These prophets said, “God won’t allow Babylon to defeat Jerusalem,” and “God will rescue and return the captives (from the earlier deportation to Babylon) within two years.” Jeremiah 23 and 28).
We see how Ezekiel was also called to speak out against them in today’s reading. The false prophets did nothing to serve the people of Israelites truly. Instead, in 13:10, “When the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash…”. Outward appearances don’t move God but the state of our hearts. So like the false prophets, women with their magic charms and religious hypocrites mislead others, jeopardising their future, God took it seriously.
I recall having this conversation with my mum; I may have shared this before. Many people, even today, use God’s name to get their way, and these are not prophets, just everyday people. I recall an instance when I didn’t want anyone questioning a decision, and I knew that if I said God told me so, I would be left alone. I had realised early in my life that once you put this is what God said I should do, most times, no one questions you. I learned how manipulative it is to use God’s name in that manner. I told my mum that to get away with things, all I had to do was mention this to her. While I wasn’t prophesying, the point I was trying to make to her was that not everything anyone says God said is from God. We sometimes get carried away by that even though we know better, I mean, my mum is a pastor :)
There is also a focus on idolaters that go and visit prophets. Someone says it’s like going to church on Sundays and never prioritising God during the week. Hmm… So many things distract me, and I sometimes feel like I put God on a to-do list. This is calling me out!
The Israel idolaters will bear the punishment so they may no longer go astray from God and be his people and he, their God (14:10–11). They would eventually have a renewed relationship with God.