Disclaimer: I am not advocating what is in the title. Read chapter 13 and you will know why.
Well, I have recovered from the hangover of chapter 12 and feeling like the light of my computer screen will no longer give me a headache. So it seems like a good time to dive back in.
Deuteronomy 13 is contains warning and instructions about people who will lead Israel into the worship of other Gods. I’ll be straight up with you folks, it ain’t pretty.
Death. Every time.
Even if it is your spouse who does it. Guess who’s honor it is to throw the first stone. That’s right, you! Fun times!
But what was also clear from the chapter was that there was a fundamental difference in the role of faith in the Israelite community. And it makes a big difference.
To turn away from the LORD, says Deuteronomy, is to commit treason.
This is not an issue of belief or personal religious preference. I’m not sure if you asked one of the ancient Israelites about those things if they would have any idea what you were talking about.
For them, God is King.
He is their King.
And Kings can’t have traitors in their midst. That’s just bad King-ing.
If we are talking about treason, we are having a very different conversation than if we are talking about personal beliefs.
Not that it makes it any easier to throw a rock at your wife’s head, but it is still a slightly better understanding of the context that would bring someone to that point.
Destroy the City
It may also be possible for entire cities to be turned from God. “Scoundrels” may sneak in and lead everyone into the aforementioned treasonous activity.
If this happens, the whole city, with all its people and possessions, is to be destroyed and never rebuilt. But before you do that, you need to thoroughly investigate the matter.
No crimes of passion here.
Figure out what is going on first. Then if you find out the town is full of traitors, level it.
As harsh as that is, I do appreciate the work you have to do on the front end to make sure you are justified.
Here We Go Again
God has something he wants his people to get.
Something he has been telling them over and over.
Even if some prophet comes along and predicts something that ends up coming true. Even if that happens, don’t listen to him if he points you to some other god.
I’ll give you three guesses but you will probably only need one.
. . . treason against the Lord your God—who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery . . .
Those gods they are leading you to, they didn’t bring you out of Egypt.
That is why remembering their story is so important!
It doesn’t matter what some other God did or does, they didn’t create Israel by bringing them out of Egypt and into the promised land. That is YHWH’s defining characteristic that no other god can claim.
Remember your story!!!