In the classic way that God works, when His people go astray and start listening to their false prophets because they cannot fathom a way to interpret their faith for themselves, God sends to them a man who can tell them the truth about everything...including their false prophets.
In other words, when the people get hoodwinked by their false prophets, God sends them a...prophet. (As He does in Jeremiah 23, among other places.)
This is the kind of thing that drives us absolutely crazy about God, isn't it? We're a people who live in a place with a lot of noise, and at a time when we realize just how much is going on around us, what we really want is for God to put an end to it all and make things clear.
We want the loud, booming voice. We want the thunder and lightning. We want the smitings and the earth opening up to swallow sinners whole. We want God to just show up and make clear that it's Him and then tell us what's going on.
But God doesn't work like that, not often. Rather, God often sends us something that looks awfully similar to what we already have. He sends a prophet among prophets, a blessing among blessings, an opportunity in the midst of opportunity. He sends it with a quiet sort of spirit, but a spirit of fire that burns with a passion that cannot be denied. It's the kind of thing we have to look and listen for, but once we're willing to hear it, we can never forget it.
How do we come to listen to Jeremiah when he tells us to stop listening to the prophets? How do we know that this is the man to listen to when he tells us not to listen to all the men we've been listening to? How do we trust that this is the man who speaks for God when he tells us that these other men are not speaking for God? He looks just like them, and yet...
And yet, there was something about Jeremiah that was fundamentally different than all of the false prophets. There was something about him that made him worth listening to. There was something about him that rang out above all of the noise.
That's what we have to look for. In those times where we're looking for some sign of God that we can't miss, what we really ought to be looking for is that little something that we can't ignore. Yes, maybe it looks like all of the others, but there's something fundamentally different about it that makes it undeniable. That's God.
Thunder and lightning. Loud, booming voice. Still, small something that tugs at the heart and doesn't let go.