Thomas John Watson Sr., the IBM Chairman of the Board In 1943, said, “I think there is a world market for about five computers.” Clearly, he got that wrong. Fortunately, his opinion didn’t dominate IBM’s direction in the years following.
In Jeremiah 29:8-9, the prophet points out that leaders aren’t always speaking words from God.
Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the
prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name.
I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. (NIV)
These “prophets” and diviners had become the Hebrew King’s consultants, and many became key influencers of the Jewish people who were the first ones exiled in Babylon before the final Old Testament destruction of Jerusalem. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, we read that these “prophets” and diviners were telling the king, and the people, the opposite of what God had already promised through his real prophets, and they wanted to silence the voices that were actually from God. These guys even called for Jeremiah to suffer consequences for speaking God’s truth. They wanted to see his arrest, imprisonment, and death. These leaders were living in sin yet claiming God would never condemn his chosen king or people. They were wrong. God disciplines those he loves.
So, what voices are influencing you these days? If Jeremiah was writing to us, would he replace the words “prophets and diviners” with “politicians and media,” “podcasters and bloggers,” “reporters and novelists?” The important consideration for us isn’t the information delivery format, but whether the voice is proclaiming truth. And the caution is to ask ourselves; “Am I listening to this voice because it is telling me what I want to hear?”
Spend some time in prayer today asking the Lord to give discernment regarding every voice of influence you permit yourself. Also, pray to be a good voice of God’s love and truth to those you influence.