Background: The prophet Jeremiah spoke for 42 years to Judah (God’s people). His prophetic witness spanned over the reigns of 5 kings. Sadly, most of his words urging them to repent and turn back to God went unheeded and Judah was eventually taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
While Jeremiah was prophecying Judah’s downfall to Babylon and a long captivity, enter another prophet named Hananiah. He prophesied that within two years God would bring back from Babylon all the temple treasures and the king and the people. Who was right? Let’s see what happened to Hananiah. Beware false prophets.
Ask the children…
When Jeremiah confronted Hananiah, what did Jeremiah accuse him of and what was to be Hananiah’s punishment?
“Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, ‘Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’'” (Jeremiah 28:15, 16)
God sent Jeremiah to speak truth and to confront His people with their indifference to God and their selfishness. The false prophet was undermining that message and telling the people they didn’t have to change, everything would be ok. God would not stand for this. What happened to Hananiah?
“Two months later[c] the prophet Hananiah died.” (Jeremiah 28:17)
Beware false prophets. God will not be mocked and He will not let those who speak lies to His people go unpunished. In this case it was the premature death of a false prophet who dared to contradict the words of God that were being spoken by God’s prophet Jeremiah.
Ask your children why Hananiah was falsely prophesying? They make guess things like he wanted to be popular with the people and the king, or he wanted the people to feel better about their circumstances, etc. In any case, Hananiah allowed himself to be used by satan to spread harmful lies. Look up in a concordance the term ‘false prophets’. See what happened to them. Remind your children of the importance of speaking truth that lines up with the word of God.
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