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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 29:30-32

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, April 24, 2015

30 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 31“Send this message to all the exiles: This is what the LORD says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite. Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, and I did not send him, and he has led you to trust in a lie, 32 the LORD says, “I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. He will have no one left to live among this people. He will never see the good things I will do for my people, says the LORD, because he has preached rebellion against the LORD.”

Jeremiah doesn’t record what ultimately happened to Shemaiah. We know that God punished all the other false prophets mentioned, so we have no doubt that Shemaiah and his descendants were punished. They would not return from the exile, and it seems likely from the way the Lord phrases the sentence “He will have no one left to live with this people” that all of Shemaiah’s family would die in captivity. The words of a false prophet or a false preacher affect the people who listen to him. If they were misled into disbelieving all of God’s promises, then their souls were lost. If, on the other hand, they were only misled about disbelieving the command to settle in Babylon, but were otherwise looking ahead to the coming of the Messiah, then their lives were lost, but their souls were spared.

This might make someone wonder, why then do we worry about false teachers, if a little false doctrine probably won’t lead anyone to hell? The word “probably” should be the most terrifying part of that sentence. And permitting a little false doctrine is like giving your newborn baby a bottle of formula with only a little poison. Or holding a dance in a field where there is only one landmine buried. Or flying in an airplane with a wing that’s missing only one or two bolts or rivets. What’s the harm?

Solid teaching grabs hold of everything God has said, and takes it to heart. It means correctly dividing law and gospel, and knowing which passages are prescriptive (telling us what to do), and which are merely descriptive (telling us what someone else did). It means taking God’s word as written, knowing that the poems are poems, the historical parts are historical, and that the epistles are letters written for the churches.

Take God’s word at face value. Listen to what he says, hold his promises dearly, and be careful to pass his promises along to the people you love.

Shemaiah means “He listens to the LORD.” Listen more carefully than he did.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.