Sunday, November 22, 2015

This week's lesson (November 21-27): Jeremiah's yoke

"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: 'We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by her deeds" -- Matthew 11:16-19, NIV.
It's no wonder people preferred Hananiah to Jeremiah.

Hananiah told them what they wanted to hear.

It's 594 BC, remember, and Babylon's already invaded Judah.

Twice.

"And it's not over," says Jeremiah. "In fact, it's going to get worse."

"Nonsense," says Hananiah. There's nothing but good times ahead."

Guess which prophet was most popular?

Yes, Jeremiah 28's a good example of confirmation bias, i.e. our tendency to hear the news we want to hear (and ignore anything we don't).
  • Want to know if that dress makes you look fat? Ask the people whom you know will say, "no."
  • Looking for insight on the day's news? Watch the station that supports your views on politics.
  • Holding a conference on The Great Issues of Our Day? Invite experts who support "the right side" -- and tell everyone else to stay home.
Hananiah may be dead and gone, in other words -- but his spiritual descendants are alive and well (and making more money all the time).
To be sure, reality is not always kind to the Hananiahs of this world (viz. Jeremiah 28:9).

And it can be even more unkind to the people who listen to the Hananiahs of this world.

That's because you might get the prophets you want.

But they may not be the prophets you need.

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