Worshiping Other Gods
1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 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. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
This is a very interesting topic for Moses to bring up! If a prophet rises up from among the Israelites, and announces a sign or wonder, or foretells the future, and it comes to pass as truth, and that prophet does not give God (capital G) the Glory, but claims it was from another source (false god) then that prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God!
Could an Israelite ever be guilty of this? Could a man who fully believes in God, ever do this? Yes! We see it in our own modern times. Many of God’s very own people fall into this! God will empower them with certain “Powers” or “Gifts” – healing, prophesying, teaching, etc., yet others worship God by images and give divine honor to saints and angels There must not be any evil among God’s peoples! God must get the Glory in all things! God will often test those He entrusts or instills with great power, to see if they will remain humble and faithful!
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (NIV)
Concerning Spiritual Gifts
1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.
Gods enemy “satan the tempter” will often use friends or family to try and lead you astray! Don’t fall for this tactic! God is warning His people through Moses not to fall into this temptation, no matter how enticing it may appear. The harsh reality of this is God’s warning to them, (V6) that even if a family member or closest friend- tries to get you to worship other gods, then those family members and friends- must be put to death. Notice also in verse 6, that the temptation comes in secret, implying that idolatry is at work in the darkness , and darkness hates the light and wishes to be concealed! The tempter will always whisper his evil thoughts and guidance at you in secret, so that others don’t hear and rescue you from the tempter. Obviously God is extremely serious about worshiping other gods, and that who-so-ever does, shall be put to death! The tempter from the peoples must be put to death and then stoned for all to see, as a lasting reminder, as to bring forth the fear of God’s wrath for all generations to come. As a reminder, it is our duty as believers to prefer God before even the best friends we have in this world.
12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in 13 that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. 16 You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, 17 and none of the condemned things are to be found in your hands. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— 18 because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.
Here the command is more severe then the others. This time, if one of the cities or towns of Israel, which in in the jurisdiction of their courts, has someone rise up and sway that city or town to worship other gods, then there must be a probe to investigate it thoroughly (there must be absolute proof).
** Remember in Gen. 18:20-21, God Himself, before He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, came down to see whether its crimes were according to the outcry (claims).
And if the claim is true and it has been proved that this desirable act has been done among them, then God commands the sword to be put to all the peoples who live in that city or town! Then they are to gather all the plunder of the town and put it into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. God wants that city or town completely destroyed even its live stock, and it must remain in ruin for ever, never to be rebuilt again!
If and when this is done, and if the people have not kept any of the condemned things belonging to that city or town being destroyed, then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, He will show them mercy, and will have compassion on the peoples. He will increase their numbers, as he promised on oath to their ancestors— because they obeyed the Lord their God by keeping all his commands that He gave them- by doing what is right in His eyes.