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Deuteronomy 13

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

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!

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Deuteronomy 12

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31 

SCRIPTURE:  Deuteronomy 12

BY: Jeremy Witt

Moses shifts the focus to worship in chapter 12, because this will be one of the biggest snares for the nation of Israel later in the Old Testament.  Had the people been obedient here, their story would be much different.  Had they been fully obedient and wiped out the pagan altars, temples, high places, and religions, they would not have been so easily tempted.  But they cut corners and let some things slide.  They were curious about their neighbors and thought some things were harmless that ultimately cost them their country.  God gave some specific instructions that they do not follow.  Let’s look at some of these.

Verses 2-3 Moses told the people that they were to literally wipe every altar, form, temple, and reference of any idol or god from the country and leave no evidence.  This land is God’s and He had no intentions of their being any other worship except to Him alone.  They were to erase any mention of any name of any god!  We should apply the principles of this to our activities, attitudes, possessions, relationships, places, habits, and entertainment, essentially anything tempts us to turn our hearts from God.

Verses 4-11 indicated that they were not to worship in any way that was similar to the pagans.  There were to have set places for worship not just any place that they chose as the pagans did.

Verse 12 teaches us something important.  Notice what people are there to celebrate and rejoice before the LORD.  It is the family and even servants.  Everyone who lived life throughout the week were to worship the LORD together.  Sacrifices were to be done in set places and to be done together.  Corporate worship is important for us and it is important for the family, and it was to be done in the places set forth by the LORD, not wherever they pleased.  It is important for the “family” as well as the church family. 

This is going to step on some toes, but we are to be in the house of the LORD for corporate worship, not the ballgame, deer stand, boat, vacation, etc, but specifically in the house of the LORD.  Yes, we can worship in these places, but it is much more tempting to not worship the LORD there, or to worship something else, or someone else, namely ourselves.  When we worship together, we grow together.  We feed off each other.  We need the weekly reminder together to help us refocus. 

The latter portion of our chapter speaks about blood and offerings.  Remember that blood was forbidden to be eaten for several reasons.  1-It was vital in pagan worship. 2-Blood represents life and is sacred to God.  3-Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.  Blood is the symbol of the sacrifice that had to be made for sin.  Leviticus 17:14 speaks more towards this.

In verses 30-31God desired for the people to be set apart, holy, and different from the others, so that they would cause people to seek God.  Everything they did was to point towards God.  God did not want them even asking about other religions because the Promised land was full of pagan worship and would become a distraction or downright false worship.  Sometimes even things that cause curiosity can become a stumbling block with things that seem harmless.  Just wondering why they do what they do can lead to other experiments.  Knowing about evil can become harmful if that leads to temptations.  Why would I mention this?  If you are anything like me, when I am told not to do something, I want to see how much I can get away with.  I tend to get as close as I can to it without crossing the line.  The problem with this is dangerous especially if someone is watching me and takes that line further, referring to my children or younger folks who are watching.  This is exactly what the Israelites did, and it just gradually become worse within each generation.

God knows us better than we do ourselves, and He knew that things would become temptations for us.  It would be so much better if we would trust God and obey His ways instead of finding out the hard way ourselves.  Take my word for it.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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