Lots of people claim to speak for God. Religious leaders from all faiths, talk show hosts, friends, family members . . .
The thing is, they don't all agree.
Either God is inconsistent, or some of them--maybe all of them--aren't really giving us a glimpse of the Almighty's thoughts. They turn a lot of people away from God's truth. In fact, for some of them, that's their goal.
This is not a new phenomenon.
In chapter 22, Jeremiah issues a warning: "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!"
Chapter 23 focuses on the prophets of Jeremiah's day, who fill the people with false hopes, speak "visions from their own minds," who claim the people will have peace.
Jeremiah, who really does speak for God, calls them out. He says, ". . . which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or hear his word?"
If they really knew God, if they truly understood his holiness, they would comprehend the danger of these actions.
But they don't. Or they think maybe God doesn't notice.
"Am I only a God nearby," declares the Lord, "and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so I cannot see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?"
God sees everything, and he promises "everlasting disgrace--everlasting shame" on those who pretend to speak for him, but really don't have a clue.
I talk a lot. I like to share from God's Word, to share my story and hopefully encourage people who have the same struggles as I do. But I don't ever want to do this without first "standing in the council of God." We are so blessed that God has given us the privilege of becoming his children, the honor of approaching him.
We really can stand in the council of God and listen to him first, before speaking, and we must continually do so.