“Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies says: “Because the people are talking like this, my messages will flame out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood.” Jeremiah 5:14
Jeremiah was a prophet on fire. He was on fire for God. This is our need today. In contrast to the prophets of wind mentioned in the previous verse, God would make Jeremiah a prophet of fire – whose words would announce the devouring judgment to come. As a true prophet, Jeremiah’s words would have substance – but unpleasantly so.
The primary difference between men like Jeremiah—a true prophet of God—and false prophets was their source of information. Rather than speak the Word of the Lord, false prophets delivered messages that originated in their own hearts and minds:
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD”. God distances Himself from all false prophets: “I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied” (Jeremiah 23:21).
Another difference between true prophets and false prophets in the Bible is motivation. True prophets are motivated by loyalty to God above all else, whereas false prophets are motivated by self-interest and a desire to be popular among the people (1 Kings 22:13–14). While Jeremiah foretold the grim truth of coming desolation upon Jerusalem (Jeremiah 4), the false prophets promised peace (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). Naturally, the people of Judah preferred the pleasant messages of the false prophets: “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies” (Isaiah 30:10).
“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” (1 John 4:1)