(1) The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the droughts.
(2) "Judah mourns,
And her gates languish;
They mourn for the land,
And the cry of Jerusalem has gone up.
(3) Their nobles have sent their lads for water;
They went to the cisterns and found no water.
They returned with their vessels empty;
They were ashamed and confounded
And covered their heads.
(4) Because the ground is parched,
For there was no rain in the land,
The plowmen were ashamed;
They covered their heads.
(5) Yes, the deer also gave birth in the field,
But left because there was no grass.
(6) And the wild donkeys stood in the desolate heights;
They sniffed at the wind like jackals;
Their eyes failed because there was no grass."
(7) O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us,
Do it for Your name's sake;
For our backslidings are many,
We have sinned against You.
(8) O the Hope of Israel, his Savior in time of trouble,
Why should You be like a stranger in the land,
And like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
(9) Why should You be like a man astonished,
Like a mighty one who cannot save?
Yet You, O LORD, are in our midst,
And we are called by Your name;
Do not leave us! (10) Thus says the LORD to this people:
"Thus they have loved to wander;
They have not restrained their feet.
Therefore the LORD does not accept them;
He will remember their iniquity now,
And punish their sins." (11) Then the LORD said to me, "Do not pray for this people, for their good. (12) When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence." (13) Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, the prophets say to them, 'You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'" (14) And the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. (15) Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, "Sword and famine shall not be in this land"—"By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed! (16) And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them—them nor their wives, their sons nor their daughters—for I will pour their wickedness on them."
Notice what is happening. The land is suffering from a drought. Did the people connect drought with obedience to the message of a false minister? Probably not.
The spirit that was speaking to them was not divine, but it was supernatural. The people submitted to it because they did not put the prophet to the test to see whether or not his teaching was in harmony with what had already been revealed through God's messenger, Moses.
God blames the plight of the nation (the drought mentioned in verses 1-6) on the false prophets to whom the people listened (verses 13-16). What did the prophets do? They lulled the people into complacency, which led them to believe that all was well when it was not. They preached to them smooth things because the people had itching ears. They liked the things that were taught to them, but it was not the Word of God. God says they preached lies in His name. If one listens to them, then it is the same thing as the blind leading the blind and both falling in the ditch.
The land was in drought. How many carnal people would connect a drought with obedience to a false minister? Not very many because they would be thinking carnally and say, "It's just part of the cycle of things. It happens every so many years." They are not thinking that there might be a spiritual cause for it: that God is concerned about the well being of His people, and that He had brought the drought to make them think about why it is happening. The cause for concern is spiritual in nature.
Would any modern U.S. President or presidential candidate make an appeal to American citizens that the cause of our problems are spiritual in nature? If a national figure today said before a group of people that the reason we are having troubles in the United States is that we need to repent and get back to our God, they would be laughed into shame and contempt. The reason we are seeing the immorality in the United States is the effect of listening to false ministers!
— John W. Ritenbaugh