Ezekiel 13:1-3 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing (emphases added, KJV)!
What people do is often the result of their ways. This is a theme that will continue to be addressed, as it is paramount in discerning who is of the Truth and who is of a lying spirit. We have found that a false prophet may predict future events and do signs and wonders, and yet be false because he seeks to lead God’s people astray. Of course, an obvious sign that one is false is what he “prophesies” does not happen as he said it would. As we have read in our opening text, false prophets prophesy out of their own hearts. As a result, they follow their own spirit, and not the Sprit of God. They are not interested in what is in the heart of God, nor do they fear the Lord. False prophets do not care about God, much less His people, unless of course, they can use them to their advantage.
Ezekiel 13:4 tells us that false prophets are “Like the foxes in the deserts,” which reveals their character. Metaphorically, foxes point to being sly or deceiving, just as verb form indicates, “he foxed him,” or if two deceivers meet, “he outfoxed him.” Bottom line, they deceive to lead astray. Another characteristic of foxes is that they are opportunistic feeders that hunt live prey, which reveals the nature of false prophets: they are opportunistic, feeding on unstable souls. Furthermore, desert foxes are nocturnal, which tells us that false prophets operate under the cover of darkness; hence, their works are evil. Of course, a desert is not only a dry place; it is a desolate place. Furthermore, in the Hebrew and in this context it points to destruction and ruin. The Amplified Bible makes this clearer: “Your prophets have been like foxes among ruins and in waste places.” A desert place is where the land that is laid waste, which means that false prophets have been involved in the ruination of peoples’ lives, and the destruction of lands and nations. We will address this last aspect in further detail later. Spiritually, false prophets are desolate, and have no life in them.
Verse 6 says, “They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word” (emphasis added, KJV). False prophets will seek to confirm what people want to hear; whereas, a true prophet of God will declare the Word of God, regardless of what the people want to hear. False prophets give people false hope, and a false sense of security, which is evidenced by verse 10: “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace” (KJV). Here something to seriously think about: those who want what they want, regardless of God’s desires, are more apt to be deceived by false prophets than those whose only concern is the will of God. Those who are self-deceived are those who refuse to receive the truth, and seek those who will prophesy what they want to hear. We find this principle in 2Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (emphasis added, KJV). False prophets tend gravitate to those who fall in this category, because they are easy to manipulate and take advantage of. If you do not want to be deceived, you must desire the Truth, and surrender to the will of God. Do not ask God for a Word if you don’t really want what He wants.
Here is an example of principle as found in 2Kings 22:
And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel (Ahab). And the king of Israel said . . . unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? . . . And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand. And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil (1 Kings 22:1-18, emphases added, KJV)?
Here we have the tail of two kings, Ahab and Jehoshaphat. The former desired to hear lies; the latter wanted the truth. Interestingly, there were many false prophets, but only one true prophet of God. One lesson you can take away, do not be intimidated by numbers, you may be the only one with the true Word of God. Numbers do not necessarily equate to what is right. In studying the entire chapter, the false prophets were instrumental in Ahab’s demise; however, his demise began with his self-deception. Jehoshaphat was spared. Selah (think about it)!