Best of Daily Reflections: Are You Following Your Own Whims? Or Are You Following the Spirit of God?
The LORD God proclaims: Doom to the foolish prophets who follow their own whims but see nothing.
We have seen before in Ezekiel that God holds the people of Israel accountable for their failure to honor him. Yet, he judges the leaders of Israel with particular ferocity because they did not faithfully teach the people the ways of the Lord.
Chapter 13 reemphasizes the misdeeds of Israel’s leaders, especially the prophets. The divine denunciation of the prophets begins in this way: “Doom to the foolish prophets who follow their own whims but see nothing.” “Follow their own whims” translates a Hebrew phrase that could be literally rendered “walk after their own spirit.” In their attempts at prophesying and in their daily lives, the false prophets of Israel did not follow the Spirit of God. Instead, they did as they wished and they prophesied what they wished. Thus, their visions were “worthless” and their divinations were “deceptive” (13:6). They saw “nothing” but claimed to be seeing God’s truth.
As we grow in our faith, our spirits become more and more aligned with the Spirit of God. Yet, we must always beware of how easy it is to project our whims onto the Lord. This can happen even with highly regarded religious leaders, who mistake the imagination for the leading of the Spirit.
How can you and I be people who faithfully represent God’s will, both in words and in actions? In part, this happens when we recognize our insufficiency and rely humbly on the Lord. Yet, will be truthful representatives of God if we devote our lives to walking after his Spirit. As Jesus put it in the Sermon on the Mount, we are to “desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). When we do, and when we live according to this desire day after day, we will be more attentive to the Spirit of God and our own spirits will become more like God’s own Spirit.
FOR REFLECTION: As you think about your life, are there times when you follow your own whims without seeking the Lord? Do you ever sense a tension between your spirit and the Spirit of God? What helps you to seek the Lord on a regular basis and to be attentive to his Spirit?
PRAYER: Merciful God, I don’t want to be like the false prophets of Israel. I don’t want to seek my own whims and ignore you. I don’t want to be someone who thinks he sees your visions but is, in fact, seeing nothing.
Help me, dear Lord, to seek you above all else. Help me to discern the difference between your ways and my whims. Help me to walk in your truth so faithfully that my spirit becomes more and more like yours. Amen.