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This whole chapter deals with God’s condemnation of “false prophets and prophetesses” that pretended to speak for the Lord in Israel. Ezekiel 13:1-3 sets the tone with these words, “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus said the LORD God; Woe unto the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing.” Is it any wonder that God would condemn these men who would say, “Hear ye the word of the LORD,” when in truth they were prophesying “out of their own hearts,” and following “their own spirit.” They cared nothing for God’s Word, but held forth their “own opinions,” opinions that came from their own sinful and rebellious hearts! To make matters worse, their so-called prophecies were giving people a false hope, as we see in verse 6, “They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.” One of their lies that led to a false hope is given in verse 10, “…they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace.”

In verses 17-23, the women who masqueraded as prophetesses are addressed and they are found guilty of the same evil. Verse 17 reads, “Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy against them.” Again, their wicked lies had the same origin, for they prophesied “out of their own heart.” And to add to their guilt they also used “witchcraft,” as seen in verse 18, “Thus says the LORD God: ‘Woe to the women who sew magic charms on their sleeves and make veils for the heads of people of every height to hunt souls! Will you hunt souls of My people, and keep yourselves alive’?” (NKJV) They would have people wear these manufactured “charms” on their body to supposedly ward off evil. Verse 19 reveals the true motive behind their lies, for it reads, “And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread?” They were “women for hire,” peddling their services for personal gain. It would appear that they also “cast spells,” for the rest of the verse goes on to say, “…to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies.” How absolutely wicked, for they would claim, by such spells, to save the guilty and to curse the innocent! But God promises to deal righteously with them and to deliver the innocent in verses 22-23, which reads, “Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: Therefore ye shall no more see vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”

Is there a lesson for us today in all of this? There certainly is! Listen to the words of the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 2:1-3, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words” (NKJV).  False teachers have taken the place of false prophets and their goal is the same, to lead people away from God in exchange for the god that they worship, which is MONEY! How sad! But what’s even sadder, is that people willingly listen to their lies. Why, you ask? The apostle Paul provides us with the answer in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned onto fables.”  People would rather hear Satan’s LIES instead of God’s TRUTH because of “their own lusts.” Men’s hearts haven’t changed since Ezekiel’s day; they want to go on sinning without any accountability to God. And if they can find men (and women) who can promise them that “all will be well, you need not fear God’s judgment for your sins,” they will gladly pay them, and then sit at their feet and listen to their lies. My prayer is that this will not be true of you, dear friend. Instead, may you be like Mary in Luke 10:39, who “…sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word.”  (148.3)  (DO)