Ezekiel 13:1-3 (ESV)
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ 3 Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”
Often in conversation about theological and methodological differences, we try to figure out what is really a “big deal.” Think of the different kinds of messages that pastors preach. Think of the different kinds of advice and teachings that Christians share with each other. How can we tell if, when they are different, is it a big deal?
In Ezekiel 13, God pronounces woe on a group of teachers. God declaring woe on you is a big deal, a very big deal. Remember, there are really two categories of major life change pronounced on you by God. God either gives you blessing or woe. If it is blessing, it is wonderful. If it is woe, it is unthinkably terrible.
God pronounces woe, in Ezekiel 13, on men who claim to have a message from God, but who really have no words from God. How can we tell if the words of a teacher or preacher or Christian friend are really from God? There is only one way to know for sure. God’s words are recorded for us perfectly in the Bible.
Be extremely careful when dealing with a person who tells you “God told me…” and then follows it up with words that are not in Scripture. Be careful when you hear a man stand in a pulpit and offer teaching that does not come directly from the word of God. Of course I’m not saying that preachers should only speak Scripture and never explain it; however, the substance of the message should be the clear interpretation and application of the Scripture and not an expounding of the teacher’s opinion.
God makes it plain that, when a man or woman claims to have truth from him, they had better know that the “truth” they speak really comes from him. The only sure way for us to know if someone is giving us God’s word is when it comes from the word of God, the Bible. Claiming that words are from God is a very big deal, so make sure that those words are truly words from the Lord who recorded his word for us faithfully in the Scripture.