Jeremiah 23:11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
12 Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
13 And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
It is not a good thing when those who should be the spiritual leaders in the nation are profane. The hope of man is not found in secular government. The hope of man is found in knowing the true God. In the Old Testament God designed the nation of Israel to be governed as a theocracy. A theocracy is a government that has God as its head and a God appointed human leader. God designed the nation of Israel to be governed by a king that would be appointed by Him. God commanded the nation of Israel to appoint that man that He would choose as their king. God also declared that the king should write him a copy of His law and that he should read that law daily and meditate upon that law. God’s law was to be THE authority by which the king was to live and by which he was to rule the nation of Israel.
When God was ready to give Israel their first king, they were already far from where they should have been, spiritually. They were demanding a king like the nations around them. The priesthood was already corrupted. God gave them a king like the nations around them. King Saul was a proud man who was self-centred and not willing to be governed by God. He defied God and governed in a self-willed manner. God could not bless his reign and declared that his family would not rule after him. Saul tried to kill the man that God chose to replace him. King Saul wanted to develop a dynasty. He wanted his son Jonathan to be the next king. God was not going to allow that to happen. Jonathan was a better man than his father was. However, God chose David to be the next king. David would be a man after God’s own heart. He would be governed by the LORD. When he sinned, God chastened him and he learned from the chastening and repented and confessed his sin to God and was forgiven.
The priesthood was designed by God to be the spiritual advisors for the nation. They were not to be self appointed and they were not to develop their own teaching. They were to proclaim God’s Word faithfully.
We read in our text that the prophet and the priest were profane. A nation rises and falls based on the spiritual nature of the leadership. Canada has long been classified as a pagan nation. The religion of this country is hedonism and humanism. Self is the highest end to many in this country. The entire nation is suffering as a result of this wickedness. Rational thought goes out the window when this is the form of leadership.
In our text, God’s house was where they were practising their wickedness. This was not God’s design. They were to be preaching and teaching the truth. They were to be living in such a way as to help the people follow the true God. They were not doing that.
In verse 12 God stated that He would make their way slippery in darkness. It is difficult enough to walk on a slippery path in the daytime. To walk on a slippery path in the dark is very difficult. You cannot see where the next slippery patch is or if there is any way to avoid it. God declared that the corrupt prophets and priests would be driven on that slippery way. Due to their intentional departure from the truth, He would drive them along this slippery way. He would show them the consequences of choosing a profane path.
God chooses men to be the spiritual human leaders for mankind. When the spiritual leaders set themselves up against the will of God, the people perish. God is not pleased with that. He will judge the wicked spiritual leaders. God was directing Jeremiah to speak of the spiritual leaders in Israel in these verses. Israel was to walk according to God’s law and thus to show the world the blessing of knowing and following the true God. However, the prophet and priest were profane and thus not able to lead the people in the right way. They would face the judgment of the LORD as a result of their rebellion against the LORD.
In verse 13 God stated that He had seen the folly of the prophets of Samaria. Samaria was the capital of the northern tribes of Israel. The northern tribes never had a God-fearing king. Most of their prophets were ungodly men. They prophesied in Baal. They took their direction from the devil. These false prophets were causing God’s people to err.
Israel was still God’s people. God would never cast Israel off. He would chasten them severely. They hardened themselves against Him. However, God would never forget about Israel. He chose them. He has set them aside for a time and chosen to work through a new entity, the true local church. God expects local churches to be a light unto the lost. God wants the local church to have a God-fearing man as Its leader. Women are never chosen by God to be the pastor of a church. God has never chosen just anyone to be the pastor of a church. The pastor must be a saved man who is not a new believer. He cannot be a divorced man. He cannot be a bad testimony in his home nor in his community.
The godly pastor cannot lead his people to err any more than the Old Testament prophet and priest could lead the people to err. The prophet and the priest needed to be God-fearing men. Sadly that was not generally the case in Jeremiah’s day. God was not pleased with this and He warned Jeremiah to proclaim the truth and rebuke the rebels and to show them the right way.
The prophet and priest were not supposed to be like the people. They were to be the spiritual leaders of the people. They needed to be God-fearing men who could lead the people the right way. That was not the case in Jeremiah’s day. He was a true prophet, but there were many false prophets and priests who were speaking against what God told him to speak. He was told to address this and to show the people they needed to reject the false teachers. His was not a popular ministry, but it was a necessary ministry.