THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 13
BY: Jeremy Witt
Today’s chapter is short but poignant. The message is more repetitive and yet prophetical at the same time. Moses is sending a warning to the Israelites not to follow anyone regardless of how attractive or well spoken they are. Again, I think these words are important for us as well. We have groups of people who are led by smooth talking, pleasing to the eye people who are “Pied Pipers” leading people away from God.
If you study their beliefs, they came from dreams or visions that they claim fulfill the Word of God, yet they truly add to it or downright contradict the Word of God. Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Mary Baker Edy (Christian Science), Charles Taze Russell (Jehovah’s Witness), Jim Jones, David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Marshall Applewhite (Heaven’s Gate), etc are such examples of modern people who led people astray from the true worship of the LORD God.
Anytime anyone adds or subtracts from the Word of God, they are false prophets. Anytime a person claims to have a dream or vision that contradicts the Word of God, they are false prophets. New ideas from inspiring people may sound good, and when they use just enough of Scripture with their dream, it sounds even better to us unless we are aware of the Scriptures. Any message must be consistent with what is already written in God’s Word.
Here are some good guidelines to ask when a teaching seems good but off. Are they telling the truth as already found in Scripture? Or are they saying that the Bible is not enough? Is their focus on God? If their message or dream is based on human effort, then consider them false. Are their words consistent with Scripture that you know to be true? Some people words direct us towards God. Some people’s words direct us toward themselves or their practices apart from Scripture. Beware of the latter. A word of warning, it is quite possible to use the right words but still lead people in the wrong direction. Remember those who adhere to salvation by the Law? This would be such an example. God gives us discernment and wisdom. Search the Scriptures when in doubt. Anything that leads you away from God is dangerous and that messenger should be considered false.
A slight variation from the Word is the most tempting for us. The messages that are clearly against the Word of God are easy to spot, but it is the smooth talking, uses just enough of God’s Words and adds their own spin are the messages that we must be extremely careful to question and call out.
Moses gave some pretty strict punishments for this offense as in verse 5, 9 and in cases of a large group of people or city as stated in verses 12-17. God has zero tolerance for false worship and those who lead people astray from Him. We must be people of the Word and not stray from it.
Read verse 18 and see that the “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you listen to His voice and keep all His commands.” Zero tolerance is clear.
May everything we do stay true to Scripture and may those who speak truth to us do likewise. Anything less is a false teacher and must not be listened to. So be careful, be very careful to whom you listen to and always check their words according to the Bible, including this writer!