By Tope Banso
As we live in the present and face the future, everybody needs hope. When some people lose hope, taking extreme negative actions, such as suicide, unfortunately, becomes attractive to them.
God’s promises bring hope. The Word of God rekindles hope. Romans 4:18 says of Abraham that he, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many as spoken by the LORD.
When we hear or study the Word of God, it gives us hope. The promises in the Word of God give us hope of deliverance, healing, victory and so on. The psalmist says he is counting on the LORD and has put his hope in His Word (Psalm 130:5).
Furthermore, the writer of Psalm 119 says he cries out for help and puts his hope in the words of the LORD (verse 147b). He calls on the LORD to remember His promise to him, for it is his only hope (verse 49).
Hope is very important. When people become hopeless, they are tired of living. Proverbs 13:12 says hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.
If one’s hope is based on the Word of God, one has the assurance of it being fulfilled. But when it is based on lies, it amounts to false hope. Such hope will never become a reality. Thus, waiting for its realisation is useless.
Such is the hope that false prophets give people, telling them sweet things they would like to hear. They could look at their negative situations and try to soothe their pain by telling them lies instead of the truth they need to hear, even if it is bitter.
The LORD told the people of Judah, “Your ‘prophets’ have said so many foolish things, false to the core. They did not try to hold you back from exile by pointing out your sins. Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope” (Lamentation 2:14 New Living Translation). Did you see that last phrase, false hope?
In Jeremiah 8:20, the people of Judah said, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” ( New King James Version). Why? They had been given false hope that all would be well after they had rejected the LORD by going into idolatry. Nevertheless, the LORD had determined to punish them. Their teachers, prophets and priests were fraudulent; they were covetous and dealt falsely (verse 10).
The LORD says, “They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when all is war” (verse 11 New Living Translation). They gave the people assurances of peace when there was no peace; they gave them false hope (Jeremiah 6:14; 14:13-14; Lamentation 2:14; Ezekiel 13:10). The LORD promised to punish these frauds who claimed to be speaking for Him.
False hope is no hope! There are many people today who have been given false hopes by those who pretended to be prophets! All they’ve said, which their victims were excited to receive as the truth, have not come to pass. These prophets probably collected from them what they shouldn’t have.
The LORD says about the false prophets in the days of the prophet Micah: “You are leading my people astray! You promise peace for those who give you food, but you declare war on anyone who refuses to pay you” (Micah 3:5 New Living Translation).
The victims of lying prophets today are lamenting that the harvest is past and the summer is ended, but they are not saved! The time they were given by the prophets had passed and the promised breakthroughs were not forthcoming!
The weeks have passed, the months have ended and the period has elapsed, yet, the prophecies have not been fulfilled. Their hopes have been dashed.
The other day, a pastor had explanations to make to calm down his members after the departure of a guest minister who had given them prophecies, upon which they gave money beyond what they normally would have given.
They met the conditions he gave them for financial breakthrough, but they didn’t see the fulfillment of his prophecy within the time he had given them!
They were seriously under pressure because some of them gave monies that were not theirs or monies meant for something else. In that circumstance, it may not be enough to just tell the people that the prophecy didn’t come to pass because they lacked faith!
God supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food (2 Corinthians 9:10). “Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily” (verse 7 New Century Version). He who plants a little seed will have a small harvest and he who plants a lot will have a big harvest (verse 6).
Every genuine minister of God must be careful so that he doesn’t become a false prophet! He must hold himself accountable to God and the people, not to God alone.
The people must also be careful not to listen to or patronise lying prophets who give them false hopes. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16a New King James Version).
One of the signs of the end time is deception by people who will claim to be prophets of God. (Matthew 24:11). “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:24-25 New King James Version). These words of Jesus are also recorded in Mark 13:22-23.
Don’t become a victim of lying prophets. Ahab was. He was deceived by about 400 prophets. They gave him a false hope of victory in war, while a genuine prophet of God, Micaiah, came to warn him not to go as he would be defeated.
Ahab died needlessly in that war because he acted on a false prophecy. King Jehoshaphat, who went with him, would have been killed. Apparently God had mercy on him because he was, generally, a good king (1 Kings 22:1-38).
Hear John’s warning: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 New King James Version).
Similarly, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is true” ( New King James Version).
God wants your hope to be founded on His word, not on false prophecies, which will only give people false hopes.
Lying prophets and false hopes! The Message renders Jeremiah 8:20 thus: “The crops are in, the summer is over, but for us nothing’s changed. We’re still waiting to be rescued” (The Message). Nothing has changed positively for the victims of lying prophets. Sometimes things get worse for them.
Prophet Jeremiah was hurt with the hurt of his people; he mourned and was overcome with grief. He cried, “Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery. For the health of the daughter of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22 New King James Version).
Gilead was known for her balsam ointment or healing medicine. There was balm in Gilead and there were doctors, but they wouldn’t be of help to the people, because they had forsaken the LORD.
The doctors couldn’t help King Asa of Judah when he rejected the LORD. 2 Chronicles 16:12 says, “And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians” (New King James Version). He died two years after.
The healing the people of Judah needed would come if they returned to the LORD instead of lamenting based on false hope they had been given. They asked, “Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her King in her?” (New King James Version).
Of course, the LORD was in Zion or Jerusalem, but they had rejected Him. Hear the LORD: “Why have they provoked Me to anger with their carved images — with foreign idols?” (New King James Version). Everyone who has forsaken the LORD must return to Him instead of holding on to a lie that only gives false hope.
Beware of lying prophets who give people false hopes. Let your hope be in the LORD and in His Word. Don’t forsake Him.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: O LORD my Father, my hope is in you; I shall not put my hope in false prophecies, but in Your Word. Your Word shall come to pass in my life. I shall not be put to shame.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 280 in-depth and insightful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪ Banso, an Abuja-based pastor, heads
Cedar Ministry International. He can be reached at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523; WhatsApp No: +2349081295947