- Jer. 24:1-10; 29:1-32; 27:1-22; 28:1-17
Now the vast majority of Israelites from Judah are in exile in Babylon. GOD is in the process of punishing them for their rebellion and wickedness. GOD told Jeremiah, who remains in Jerusalem, to write a letter to the exiles. As part of His letter, GOD wants the people to know that they are going to be there for a long time—70 years—and that He plans on blessing them while they are there until He brings them back to their homeland.
Although Satan is not mentioned by name, or even referred to in these passages, it is obvious that he is active in the hearts of the Israelites in captivity. For hundreds of years Israel has been plagued by false prophets—people claiming to have been sent by GOD with a message from Him. This problem continues even in captivity. False prophets were preaching a message of peace and saying that the captives would only be there a short time. GOD had said neither of these things, and He addressed these issues in His letter:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD.
10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
(Jer. 29:5-14 NKJV)
This tactic of Satan to deceive people into thinking that things are well with them when they are not is very successful. There was confusion and varying beliefs among the exiles because of false prophets telling people to believe they would go home soon. The same thing is going on today. For example, there are (well meaning) people everywhere who preach that all a person must do is believe in Jesus and confess Him as their Lord and they are instantly saved by GOD. That's part of what GOD said to do but it isn't all of it. (Click here for more information on salvation.) This partial truth lulls people into thinking they are saved when they have only partially obeyed what GOD said to do to receive forgiveness of their sins.
GOD's message applies just as much today as it did then. His will for us is good and not evil. He wants every individual to be saved (2 Pet. 3:9). When we call on Him and honestly seek Him out with all of our heart, He will show us the way. I've seen this happen personally with friends I knew who had good and honest hearts. GOD used others to share the truth—the full gospel of Jesus—with them and they obeyed.
Don't allow yourself to be deceived. Pay close attention and seek the LORD diligently with all of your heart. Tell Him your intention of following His word to the best of your ability.