“If a prophet . . . announces a miraculous sign or wonder . . . and it takes place, and he says ‘Let us follow other gods,’ you must not listen to him.”Deuteronomy 13:1-18
Wouldn’t it be handy if the things that cause us to fall away from Christ just announced to us “Let us follow other gods”? I’ve never had any person or thing tempt me to live outside of what I know is Christ-like in that way. No, the things that tempt me are much more sly. I’m assuming that over the thousands of years since God announced this warning to Israel, the enemy has discovered there are better ways to get the children of God to turn their backs on him, even if only for a few moments.God told Israel He would allow these prophets and dreamers to come and offer their “miracles and signs” to test them, to see if their hearts really were completely dedicated to following the one true and sovereign Lord. And in the 21st century since the birth of His Son, we find ourselves facing the same temptations with much more deceptive tactics.
Almost no one says to us, “Come follow other gods.” Instead we hear things like, “Your children deserve to . . .” or “You need the money,” “You deserve nice things,” “Everyone is doing it,” and best of all “God wants you to have it.” Christians all over creation give up worshipping their creator to be slaves of the created. We miss church or skip a quiet time with God each day because we ‘don’t have time.’
We have time for television, but not time for scripture. We have time for yard work, after all we are supposed to care for God’s creation, but we don’t have time to give Him the Sabbath He asked for at the very beginning. For years the world said ‘Sunday is my only day to sleep in’ and after it convinced us that was the reason we didn’t worship, it began to schedule sporting events, even for the kids, too early to be in church AND make the game. Work has become a priority; because not only must we eat and have a simple roof over our heads, it is now necessary to have gaming systems, expensive vacations, the best car or whatever other toy our friends or co-workers have convinced us is the biggest and best.
I think it would be easier, if 50 years ago, someone had just said, “We don’t really have to observe God’s commands, let’s keep the stores open on Sundays.” Most shop owners would have balked at that, even non-Christians. But instead, the false prophets said, “You could make more money, and besides people NEED you to be open on Sunday; this will be such a convenience for them.”
Either way, the Sabbath began to be destroyed because someone didn’t pass that test of Deuteronomy 12:3 & 4.Over and over in our lives we are offered opportunities to follow Christ or follow the world. The world’s reasoning changes depending on our circumstances or the culture, but Christ’s always remain the same, “If you love me, you will follow my commands.” “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
Believe me, I know how difficult it is to tell the difference between a real prophet and a false one. I’ve followed the “road of good intentions” many times only to find out it wasn’t the “Way of Truth.” But in my life I want to follow Christ more each day, and I believe when we do that, follow Him a bit better every day of our lives, on most days we will be able to say with Joshua, “Show me this day whom you will serve . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)