Beware of Foxes and Wolves (part 1)

“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! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them…”
(Ezekiel 13:2–6).
The Bible uses the well-known characteristics of foxes and wolves as an illustration of people who can attack or infiltrate a church or nation and cause damage and destruction. Foxes may seem fairly benign, but “little foxes… spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15). Foxes are sly and opportunistic trouble-makers, and can cause considerable damage.
In Ezekiel 13, God calls prophets foxes when they prophesied in God’s name without receiving any direction from Him. These prophets were telling the people the positive “fake news” that they wanted to hear, instead of the negative “real news” that Ezekiel was preaching. Judah and Jerusalem’s rebellion and idolatry had caused the moral decay of the city, pictured by the gaps and breaches in the walls of Jerusalem. “[These] prophets had not stood in the way of this decay and its causes, as the calling and duty of prophets demanded, by reproving the sins of the people, that they might rescue the people and kingdom from destruction by restoring its moral and religious life”[C. F. Keil and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament]. They were actually furthering the moral decay by telling the people everything was okay.
These “foxes” of prophets were a real problem in the years preceding and following the Babylonian captivity. “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:28) “…Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:” (Jeremiah 29:31).
Beware of prophets and preachers who tell you only what you want to hear! A faithful preacher must preach only the Word of God.
~Pastor David