false leadership?

I’ve been reading through Jeremiah for the last month (which really seems like a year). A week or so ago I read chapters 27-28. In these chapters there is an interesting story that has gripped me and won’t let go.

In chapter 27, Jeremiah receives an instruction from God to place a wooden yoke around his neck. This is a symbol for submitting to the authority of the Babylonian king.  Those who do this and serve the king will live, those who do not will perish. God even warns them to not listen to prophets and others who will come along telling the people not to submit to the king. God is planning on restoring the vessels taken from the temple which the king of Babylon currently possesses.

In chapter 28, Hananiah (also a prophet) comes along and tells Jeremiah that God has already taken care of business and in just a few short years God will restore the vessels to their proper place. Jeremiah responds with an “Amen brother!” and allows Hananiah to break the yoke that God commanded Jeremiah to wear.  Turns out that Hananiah is wrong, God comes back with a yoke of iron, and Hananiah dies a short time later because of his false prophecy.

Here’s what I’m wrestling with:

  • Why did Jeremiah seemingly agree with Hananiah’s prophecy and allow him to break the yoke? Was he fooled?
  • Have I ever been duped into listening to a word from God by a false prophet? If so, whom? Is he still living? Did he suffer some kind of punishment?
  • Have I ever been a false prophet?
  • Have I given leadership advice to others that wasn’t part of God’s plan for their life?

Oh man, my head is spinning. I’ve got lots of questions. Thoughts anyone?

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