"Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD." Ezekiel 13:22-23
Even when God's people were living in exile, false prophets filled the land. They "disheartened the righteous" and "encouraged the wicked." They led the unsuspecting away from God. False prophets and teachers will be around until the end of time. Therefore, we need to know how to spot them. Ezekiel 13 gives us three important things to look for.
False teachers follow their own spirit (Ezekiel 13:3). A false teacher will speak more about themselves than about God. They are self-promoters. In essence, people follow them instead of God.
False teachers speak their own words. They say, "The Lord declares," when the Lord has not sent them (Ezekiel 13:6). Evaluate how false teachers use Scripture. They will ignore it or twist it out of context. This is why it is so important for us to be grounded in God's Word. The best way to spot a counterfeit is to be intimately familiar with the real thing.
False teachers provide a flimsy foundation. "'They lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash'" (Ezekiel 13:10). Believers must be able to discern content from presentation. The false teacher's presentation and performance appears good from the outside, but the content is like a flimsy wall. Sooner or later, it will fall.
Father, we live in a world full of false teachers. Give us discernment. Ground us in Your truth. Help us spot and stay away from those who whitewash flimsy walls. Don't let us be deceived. In Jesus' name. Amen.