The Scriptorium

Hananiah's Bad Yoke

Time would tell who was the true prophet. Jeremiah 28.1-11

Yokes All Around (5)

Pray Psalm 7.1-5.
O LORD my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me,
Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.
O LORD my God, if I have done this:
If there is iniquity in my hands,
If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my enemy without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the earth,
And lay my honor in the dust.

Sing Psalm 7.1-5.
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
O Lord, my God, in You do I take refuge;
save me from those who my poor soul would tear!
Deliver me from my foes’ angry deluge,
lest I be swept beyond all hope and care.
Let not injustice, let not evil stain me,
lest to the dust my glory trampled be.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 28.1-11.

Prepare.
1. What was Hananiah’s message?

2. How did Jeremiah respond to him?

Meditate.
We discover here that Jeremiah was a literalist where the Word of God is concerned. He had put a yoke on himself, to demonstrate his commitment to fulfilling God’s Word (v. 10).

Hananiah spoke for all the false prophets of Judah when, in Jeremiah’s presence, he openly contradicted the prophet’s message, assuring the assembly that within a short time, everything would be made right (vv. 1-4). Jeremiah’s response was on the order of, “Well, we’ll see about that” (vv. 5, 6). The true prophet of God would be revealed in the fulfillment of his words. Jeremiah reminded the assembly that he was not the first prophet to warn of judgment from Babylon (v. 8). Isaiah and others had foretold what had already begun to come to pass, and Jeremiah positioned himself in that lineage, and not the lineage of the pop preachers of his day.

Hananiah tore the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it before the assembled crowd, reiterating his vain promise of deliverance (vv. 10, 11). The yoke would be on him in the end.

It doesn’t matter how soothing or clever or funny or hopeful a preacher’s remarks are, if they’re out of line with what God has promised in His Word. Like Jeremiah, we need to make sure that we’re lined up in every way with the Word of God. Let others reject us or make light of us, as long as we stand firm and with the Scriptures, we’ll be the ones God proves to be right in the end.

Reflect.
1. Jeremiah appealed to Scripture to validate his message. To what were the false prophets appealing?

2. Meditate on Acts 17.11. What’s the message here and in our passage for today concerning our relationship to the Scriptures?

3. Rather than argue further with the false prophets, Jeremiah left “and went his way.” Is there a time for walking away from arguments about the Gospel? Explain.

Hananiah, the son of Azzur, broke the bars of wood for the present but was preparing bars of iron for the future. False prophets always promise pleasant things and please for a time. Truth is bitter, and those preaching it are filled with bitterness. Jerome (347-420), Against Jovinianus 2.37

Keep me in the path marked out by Your Word today, O Lord, as I…

Pray Psalm 7.6-17.

Plead with God to make you faithful, even in the face of adversity, as one appointed to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

Sing Psalm 7.6-17.
Psalm 7.6-17 (Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
Arise, O Lord, rise up in wrath to save me!
Let rage and judgment fall upon my foes!
From all around to You let thanks and praise be.
Rise up on high; the wicked curse with woes.
O Judge of all, observe my just demeanor
And vindicate me by Your grace, O Lord.

Bring to an end the evil of the wicked,
but let Your righteous ones established be.
You are my shield, my soul will not be stricken;
You save the upright; You will rescue me!
You are a righteous Judge in every way;
a God of indignation every day.

Let all repent or know Your piercing sword!
Your bow is bent and ready for the fight!
Take deadly weapons in Your hand, O Lord,
and fiery arrows, aimed against the night.
The wicked fall and stumble in their mischief,
but to my soul Your grace will bring relief.

All praise and thanks to You, O righteous Savior!
My hope, my trust, my confidence are You!
Embrace me with Your kindness and Your favor,
and to Your glory make me ever true.
We sing Your praise and glorify Your Name,
Who brings our foes to judgment and to shame.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore