God’s words to Jeremiah show why He does not respond positively to the prophet’s plea. The prophet had said to God, “Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you” (14:7). God responds, “Thus says the LORD concerning this people: ‘They have loved to wander … they have not restrained their feet; therefore the LORD does not accept them; now he will … punish their sins’” (verse 10). If we are focused on God to direct our feet – by reading and believing His word – our Heavenly Father knows the intentions of our heart.

In Jeremiah’s time there are others who claim to be prophets and they are giving the people a false message. He says, “Ah, Lord God, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor will you have famine, but I will give you assured peace …’” (verse 13). We see a parallel to this; today it is sad that, at some funerals, relatives are given the belief that their loved ones now have a new form of existence somewhere else.

God tells Jeremiah that these “prophets are prophesying lies in my name … a lying vision … the deceit of their own minds” (verse 14). The true vision is clear in the words of Jesus we read in Matthew 25. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne” (verse 31). Then will come the time of reward and punishment. Recall Jesus’ words in chapter 22 silencing the Sadducees for refusing to believe there would be a resurrection (verses 23-30).

In today’s chapter Jesus spells out the reward for the faithful, such as Jeremiah, those who show their faith by their priorities and work. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (verse 34). This is echoed by Paul in writing to the Hebrews, telling them that those who love and serve God “all died in faith … that they might rise again to a better life” (Hebrews 11:13,35). Let us all have minds free of deceit, a sure hope of “a better life” when we inherit a place in God’s kingdom soon to come on earth.