Worship God Alone – Deut 13-14

Posted: September 26, 2008 in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 13-14, “Worship God Alone”
————-

.
Deuteronomy 13 (NKJV)
1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
.
A. How to test prophets (at least one test…). Deut 18 is going to deal with prophets who are presumptuous & wrong; here God deals with prophets who seem to be right, but are truly false. Note that this ‘prophet’ actually performs a sign or wonder…IOW, he does the miraculous. The miracle does NOT prove his authenticity. ‘But didn’t even Jesus appeal to His miracles in John 5:36 to the Pharisees & Matt 11:5 to John’s disciples?’ Sure – but the Lord Jesus’ miracles went hand-in-hand with what Scripture taught – and He always sought to give glory to God. Miracles that deny God or contradict the Scriptures may be visually amazing, but spiritually crippling and false.
__a. There are still whole movements in Christianity that try to do this same thing. The focus is solely on miracles & what WE can do, rather than proclaiming the gospel of what Christ Jesus has already done. We need to keep the priority straight! (Guzik) “This is why Jesus said and these signs will follow those who believe (Mark 16:17). Signs are to follow believers, instead of believers following signs.”
B. Is this prophet from the Lord? Yes & no. The prophet certainly doesn’t represent the Lord, but God uses him to test the people’s love & loyalty. This is not a godly prophet, but our omnipotent God can use anyone in His creation for His purposes and glory. Thus though God doesn’t tempt us (James 1:13), He does use the situation these false prophets set up to test His people’s love for Him. And that’s what He desires: for us to love Him!
__a. Remember the Great Commandment! Above everything else, God desires for His people to love Him (also plays into the 1st Commandment where we are to have no other gods beside Him). This is important to God! Praise God that He desires more than our fear (though this is necessary), but that He also desires our love!
.
.
.
4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
.
A. Ultimately, this is what God wants…walk in His ways, fearing & serving Him alone. He wants His people to worship Him (go figure!). 🙂 Is it possible? Not in our own strength. Jesus summed up the demands of the law in Matt 5:48 saying that we shall be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect. But what is impossible with man is possible with God! Because of Christ Jesus, we are given HIS righteousness – thus when God sees us in Christ, He sees us as His perfect children who walk after Him & fear Him, who keep His commandments, and obey Him, etc.
__a. Every day we should wake up praising God for Christ Jesus & the new relationship with have with God because of Him!
.
.
.
5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
.
A. How to deal with the false prophet? Execute him.
B. God takes enticement to sin very seriously…and that doesn’t change in the NT. Matthew 18:6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. [] Why is it so serious? Because sin itself is that serious! There is but one killer disease in all of history: sin…passed down to us from Adam. Thus when someone attempts to cause someone to turn away from the Living God, it is a most egregious offense against Him – because He desires to protect & provide for His people.
.
.
.
6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.
.
A. Even if family members caused a Hebrew to worship other gods, they were supposed to be killed…and their offended family member was supposed to throw the 1st stone as a testimony against them. (Would have been a pretty good deterrent & motivation for family members to help one another in their walk with God…)
B. We love our families – we try to provide for our families – but at the end of the day, we’re supposed to love God more than family. Matthew 10:37 (37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. [] Our mothers & fathers bring us into the world & are fully deserving of the honor God commands us to give them – but they are not our Creator who saves us…God is.
__a. Sometimes we have to turn away from family to walk after God…
.
.
.
10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.
.
A. Why such a harsh punishment? In order to deter the rest of the nation from falling into the same sin.
.
.
.
12 “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying, 13 ‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods” ’—which you have not known— 14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword.
.
A. Dealing with whole cities that have fallen away from God… Keep in mind that Israel was originally supposed to be an ideal divine theocracy (a nation ruled by a benevolent & just God) – cities that fell into idolatry were engaging in treason. Not only would they be breaking the love relationship they were to have with God (committing spiritual adultery), but they were rebelling against their Sovereign & King. Thus God commanded the rest of the nation to come against them in war.
B. Note this wasn’t supposed to be a mob mentality. God required that they “inquire, search out, and ask diligently.” God’s judgments are based on His just righteousness; not emotional instability…
.
.
.
16 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again. 17 So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers, 18 because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.
.
A. Everything was to be destroyed – even the plunder! This was a worse judgment than what the Canaanite cities received – the Hebrews were allowed to keep the plunder in most of the cities of the conquest. But in this case, the sin was worse – adultery & treason against the God who had saved & redeemed them & called them to His own.
__a. Sin ALWAYS has consequences…none which we want to endure.
B. The destruction was to be so complete, that the city was completely ruined & never rebuilt…would have served as a testimony to any traveler passing by…
a. We’re not supposed to have any bridge back to our old sins & temptations. Cut off the hand; pluck out the eye; reckon ourselves dead to it…whatever it takes to not go back, that’s what we ought to do. Does it mean we won’t ever fall again? No – but when we do, we confess, repent & reckon ourselves dead all over again to it.
C. If they did, the wrath of God would be satisfied…because that’s part of the result of sin. God is fully & truly righteous & He MUST pour out His wrath upon sin if He is to remain righteous.
__a. This is why the Lord Jesus had to bear the wrath of God upon Himself! Only His sacrifice was sufficient to be able to cover every sin in all mankind. 1 John 2:1-2 (1) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (2) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. [] Christ Jesus is the mercy-seat…He is the method by which God passes over our sins – and the only way that could take place is through the satisfaction of His wrath & righteousness.
.
.
.
Deuteronomy 14 (NKJV)
1 “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. 2 For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
.
A. What was the purpose behind cutting or shaving? Pagan worship in funeral rites. They would express their mourning in such a way that they would disfigure & mutilate their own body. God calls His people to behave differently – because we have a different & glorious hope. We still mourn & grieve, but we don’t do so as those who have no hope – we grieve while still rejoicing in Christ Jesus – the hope of glory!
B. Note the reason why: They had been chosen & set apart for God! They were His special treasure. Out of all the people on the face of the planet – out of all the cultures in history, God reached down and chose the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…and showed Himself wonderfully strong on their behalf through mighty miracles & daily provision. Thus the Hebrews had no reason to act like the heathen around them! GOD was their God.
__a. Today, WE as the church are a special treasure to God… 1 Peter 2:9-10 (9) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (10) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. [] (parable of the treasure in the field – Matt 13:44, Jesus = the man) He gave everything for you in order that God might be glorified!
.
.

— Since they are set apart for God, they have special dietary laws to demonstrate the fact they are set apart. Although there are some microbacterial issues dealt with (trichinosis & yellow fever), there doesn’t seem to be an overarching reason why God chose some animals & not others…but that in itself is a testimony to the grace of God in our own lives. We’ve done nothing to merit His favor; it’s actually the opposite! … But God in His unfathomable grace loved us when we were unlovable and offered His salvation to us. Just like the goat did nothing to be clean; neither did we. God simply set them apart as He does His own people… —
.
.
.
3 “You shall not eat any detestable thing. 4 These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6 And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals.
.
A. Before God reminds them of what they can’t eat, He reminds them of what they can eat…which is a lot! God wasn’t looking to throw down restrictions on their freedom – He wanted to protect & provide for them in His love for them as His people. (He does the same with us.)
.
.
.
7 Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you. 8 Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
.
A. No cloven hooves; no cud chewers of a specific kind. Obviously some animals that chewed the cud were considered clean (like the ox/cow).
B. Pork is known to have an obvious danger of disease if cooked unproperly – it was also widely used in pagan cultures for sacrifice. Whatever the reason, God considered it to be unclean.
__a. How does this affect NT believers? Do we need to give up bacon & spareribs? 🙂 Not unless you want to. (Acts 15 council) Romans 14:2-4 (2) For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. (3) Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. (4) Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. []
.
.
.
9 “These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales. 10 And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
.
A. Seafood – later became a major portion of their diet (how many disciples were fishermen? A bunch. :)). Fins & scales ok.
B. No fins, no scales, not ok. Eels, etc…
.
.
.
11 “All clean birds you may eat. 12 But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13 the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds; 14 every raven after its kind; 15 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; 16 the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl, 17 the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl, 18 the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. 19 “Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten. 20 “You may eat all clean birds.
.
A. Birds don’t have any obvious pattern assigned to them. Overall, the rule seems to be that carnivorous birds are considered unclean…
__a. ‘Why does the Bible classify bats as birds? Is the Bible scientifically wrong?’ Keep in mind that modern taxonomy wasn’t developed until 1700’s…even Aristotle considered bats and birds to be the same general type of creature (walking, flying, swimming animals)
B. Again, although we tend to focus on what God restricted them from eating, there’s as much here that details what the Hebrews CAN eat. Out of all the winged creatures on the earth, the only ones that are restricted are the ones listed.
.
.
.
21 “You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
.
A. Restriction on eating animals dead of natural causes… Not for the foreigners; only for the Hebrews. Would have been a violation against eating blood, since the animal would not have been properly drained.
B. Boiling goat in mother’s milk…interesting interpretations today to the point that an orthodox Jewish person won’t eat meat & drink milk in the same meal – afraid it would “boil” together as it churned in his stomach…
__a. Don’t miss the heart of God in His commands…be careful not to strain a gnat and swallow a camel.
.
.
.
22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
.
A. Tithe… Cause of a lot of heartache & debate among Christians today. It’s worth remembering that the tithe is not specifically commanded of NT believers – yet at the same time, it predates the law of Moses because Abraham gave a tithe. Bottom line: the tithe is a great model for giving in the NT – but we’re definitely not limited to only giving 10%…we’re to purposefully & consistently give as the Lord leads us.
B. Notice the purpose of the tithe: “that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.” By giving God the 1st 10%, they were trusting Him to provide the other 90%. It was both an act of worship AND a declaration of trust to the God they feared, loved, and reverenced.
.
.
.
24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
.
A. What to do if they couldn’t take the tithe to the tabernacle? Sell it, and buy what they want to eat with God when they DO get to the tabernacle…and God didn’t put any restrictions on it. Whatever they could use to worship the Lord – they were free to worship Him with whatever food and drink they desired.
__a. God wants us to be free to worship Him! He does provide guidelines in order that we might be decent & in order – but our worship isn’t to be only in truth…it’s also to be in the spirit! We’re free to worship Him as He enables us to do so!
B. This was supposed to be a joyful celebration! Too many times, the “giving” part of a church service is turned into a solemn funeral dirge. Perish the thought! The very act of giving (OT & NT) is an act of worship! Thus we come before the Lord rejoicing – and anything we give (whatever the amount) should be done cheerfully. 2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. []
.
.
.
27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. 28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
.
A. Most of the tithes were used in personal worship; every third year the tithe was used to support the Levite & the poor.
.
.
.
Conclusion:
The bottom line to all this? God’s people were chosen & set apart to worship Him. Because they were chosen by God, they weren’t to go chasing after every other false god out there. No matter how convincing the talk or how flashy the works, only the Almighty Creator God had shown Himself strong on behalf of His people by purchasing their freedom from Egypt. Never again were they to follow after the gods of the pagans.

Likewise, they were set apart by God to worship Him. Because God showed a peculiar interest in them (solely because of His grace), they were to be a peculiar people in their actions and lives. They weren’t to live like the rest of the world did, simply because God had called them to be different.

We may be under a different (and far better!) covenant, but the principles still ring true for us. We have been chosen by the Lord Jesus to worship Him, purchased by His blood on the cross. We don’t belong to ourselves; we belong to Him…thus we are to follow after ONLY Him. Neither do we walk like the world…we ought to walk after our Master & King. WE are now a peculiar people (1 Pet 2:9, KJV), set apart to worship Him for His glory.

May we reckon ourselves dead to sin, alive in Christ, empowered by the Spirit every day!

Advertisements
Comments
  1. […] Worship God Alone – Deut 13-14 Likewise, they were set apart by God to Worship Him. Because God showed a peculiar interest in them (solely because of His grace), they were to be a peculiar people in their actions and lives. They weren’t to live like the rest of the . […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s