Category: Devotional

Death to the Infidel!

Right at the top of chapter 13 God tells us that false prophets and dreamers of dreams can be tested. We can know if they are the real deal or if they are trying to lead us astray. How? When they tell you to follow their new god… It’s kind of hilarious in its simplicity, isn’t it?

Prophet: Hey, come and follow me! I’ll introduce you to a newer, better-er god!
Me: Honey, I think this guy may not be on the level.
My wife: Agreed.

But the interesting part to me is rather the parts that follow; 1) God is doing this to test you, and 2) the prophet or dreamer must be executed for encouraging rebellion.

1) What does it mean that God is testing you? I’ll be honest, at first blush — to me, at least — this seems like a very convenient excuse. God gave this false prophet the power to foresee the future or speak a word of knowledge just to test us… but then we have to kill him/her? But of course this objection is short-sighted. Why? Because — unlike what so many people believe (Seriously. So. Many. People.) — our God is not one of blind, unquestioning faith. He is, and has always been, an evidential God. He doesn’t say ‘follow me because of what I say I can do’, but rather He says, ‘follow me because of what you have SEEN me do!’ God reminds the people continually of how He rescued them from Egypt. How he provided in the wilderness. How He protected them in battle. Then some new guy comes along, knows that your great aunt Ethyl was a Scorpio and you’re all “take my hand, we’re off to never-never land”? Madness. Why would anyone abandon a faithful God to follow a lie? Usually? Because it feels good.

2) The false prophet is to be executed. This is where the “death to the infidel” title came from. A touch extreme, no? Is there no avenue to redemption here? This was a life-or-death matter. Remember the “hearts of hearts” we talked about yesterday? Here we have a person (in the prophet/dreamer) who has seen what God can do, and has been imbued by God with a gift of prophecy, but attributes it to not God? The author of Hebrews warns us:

For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (Hebrews 4:4-6, NLT)

This is a person who cannot be brought back to repentance, and so he (or she) must be made an example of to all would-be apostates. His death is judgement for unrighteousness. And moreover, his death is protection for others whose “heart of hearts” might be corrupted to their own damnation through the work of the apostate.

We no longer summarily execute apostates… at least not in the west. We are called to obey the laws of the land. Back in Moses’ day it was near anarchy. Small city-states were ruled with an iron fist and life was exceptionally hard. Again, no country in the western world operates as a Theocracy. But we can still apply these principles. How?

We need to keep those who are apostate at arm’s length. We cannot allow them to influence our “heart of hearts”. And, of course, we pray. We pray that even though we may not be able to win them back (as we read in Hebrews), there is nothing impossible for God. There are people I deeply care about who have turned their backs on God. And it is my sincere prayer that one day I will be standing side-by-side with them, arms raised in worship of our God again. Praise Jesus.

Deuteronomy 13:1-16:17 | 075/365