Questions From Readers
No, the Creator is not deceptive, devious, or cunning in his dealings. He can and does, though, accomplish his righteous will despite what humans might expect.
We see one aspect of this from Jeremiah 4:10, where the prophet said: “Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Truly you have absolutely deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘Peace itself will become yours,’ and the sword has reached clear to the soul.”
Jehovah used Jeremiah to foretell the coming calamity for the renegade nation that was supposedly serving Him. (Jeremiah 1:10, 15-19; 4:5-8; 5:20-30) Yet, there were others claiming to be prophets. (Jeremiah 4:9) What did the people hear from such so-called prophets? God classified it this way: “The prophets themselves actually prophesy in falsehood . . . And my own people have loved it that way.”—Jeremiah 5:31; 20:6.
While Jehovah did not send those false prophets, neither did he prevent them from circulating messages, such as: “Peace is what you people will come to have” and, “No calamity will come upon you people.” (Jeremiah 23:16, 17, 25-28, 32) The people had to choose—accept the hard but true prophecies delivered by Jeremiah or let themselves be misled by false, self-made prophets, such as Hananiah and Shemaiah. (Jeremiah 28:1-4, 11; 29:30-32) Because God did not stop these misleading prophets, it might be said of him: “You have absolutely deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘Peace itself will become yours.’”
In a different sense, Jeremiah was fooled. “You have fooled me, O Jehovah, so that I was fooled. You used your strength against me, so that you prevailed. I became an object of laughter all day long; everyone is holding me in derision.”—Jeremiah 20:7.
Pashhur, a prominent priest, assaulted Jeremiah publicly and then put him in the stocks. From a human standpoint, Jeremiah might have felt that he had reached his limit, that he just did not have the strength to keep going in the face of apathy, rejection, derision, and physical violence. But not so. Jehovah used His strength against (or in contrast to) Jeremiah’s human inclination. God fooled Jeremiah in that He used this imperfect man to accomplish what the prophet could not have done in his own strength. Fooled or surprised as Jeremiah might have been by this, it was to a good end: Those persecuting him were put to shame, and God’s message was delivered.—Jeremiah 20:11.