Florida pastor Charles Lawrence Kennedy had a wonderful message: God had led him to an investment opportunity that would turn $1,000 into $1,000,000 in just 90 days. He wanted to invite others to join him in the investment. Just think of all the money they could give to charity with their earnings! It turned out that this was just a Ponzi scheme, and most of the money went to Kennedy’s
own pockets. In October 2013 Kennedy pled guilty to wire fraud; prosecutors estimate his fraudulent profits at $5 million.
Our reading for today is an extended discourse of God’s anger directed toward false prophets. Notice the variety of ways that these religious leaders have deceived God’s people. Their own lives are characterized by adultery and sinfulness (vv. 11, 14); they pollute the teaching of God with the false worship of Baal (v. 13). They proclaim a message of complacency toward sin instead of a right relationship with God (v. 17); they claim that their own opinions are really messages from God (vv. 31–32).
God takes seriously the deception of these false prophets. Repeatedly throughout this chapter He reminds them of the judgment they will face for their arrogance and sin. At the end of the discourse God declares, “I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence” (v. 39).
But in the middle of this angry denunciation of the false prophets, God also makes the promise of One in whom we can trust completely. The King was coming who “will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land” (v. 5). When we are surrounded by false prophets who make false promises and live immoral lives, we can remember that we can trust King Jesus. He is always true and always faithful.