Deuteronomy - Lesson 21

Anathema for Those Who Preach Another Gospel - Deut. 12.29-13.18

This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

Daniel Block
Lesson 21
Watching Now
Anathema for Those Who Preach Another Gospel - Deut. 12.29-13.18

Anathema for Those Who Preach Another Gospel (12:29-13:18)

I. Quote from the Apostle Paul

A. Galatians 1:6-9

B. Grounds of Paul's Curse

II. Structure of Chapter 13

A. The instigators

B. Response to the instigators

C. Motive clauses

1. Aim of the instigators

2. Aim of the response

III. Significance of Deuteronomy 13

  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Anathema for Those Who Preach Another Gospel - Deut. 12.29-13.18

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] I have mentioned before that in the book of Deuteronomy we encounter many, many difficult texts. We had one of these in Chapter seven, where we discussed the anathema on the Canaanites, whom they are supposed to wipe out. Well, our text this morning is about another anathema Moses Anathema for those who preach another gospel. And of course, my expressions here you will recognize come from Paul. I do read Paul and find him to very be a very worthy in the succession of prophets. After Moses in Galatians 1629, the Apostle Paul had some shockingly harsh words for those who are making his work with the deletion believers difficult. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel? Not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. But even if we are an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preach to you. Let him be damned. As we have said before. So now I say again. If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be damned anathema asto. Well, have you ever wondered about Paul's chutzpah in saying this? Who are you to say that? Well, if we let ourselves imagine that Paul might have viewed himself as the latest in the long line of prophets like Moses, whom we will talk about later this morning or early this afternoon. Then the inspiration for his present comment is readily recognized. He didn't make this notion up, nor even the expression. We find the grounds of Paul's curse. In Deuteronomy 13, the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy introduces us to this notion of anathema, at least as it was understood at the time that Deuteronomy was translated into Greek by the 70 rabbis in the mid century B.C., in Alexandria, in Egypt.


[00:02:37] It's a translation by Jewish people, for Jewish people who have lost the Hebrew language. And but it reflects their understanding Alexandrian understanding of the Torah. It at that time, this chapter introduces us to the word anathema and seems to have provided Paul with a perfect analog, the perfect vocabulary to what he is facing in his Judaism. Detractors in Galatians. But the chapter division in our Bibles is quite unfortunate because Chapter 1229 belongs with this chapter. It sets the context for the discussion of Moses treatment of the danger of apostasy in ancient Israel. Chapter 12 Verse 29. When you are where your God cuts off before you, the nation whose land you are entering to possess and you dispossess them and are settled in their land, guard yourselves. Here the preacher, he keeps saying this just like Paul does to his readers. Guard yourselves, lest guard yourselves that you are not trapped into following them after they have been destroyed before you and guard yourselves. That you do not inquire about their gods by saying, I wonder how these nations express their servitude to their gods. And I've deliberately interpreted the verb to serve in that sense. This is more than just liturgical cultic manipulation of all offerings and whatever else. It's about living life in the service of the Suzan. And so here I wonder how they serve their gods. So I'd like to do the same. That seemed to work for them. It should work for us. But you shall not deal with your way, your God, the way they deal with their gods. Or we should say, don't treat your way, your God, the way they treated their gods because they perform for their gods every abominable act that Yahweh hates. Indeed, they even burdened their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.


[00:05:17] Well, it could lead you to that, because as we mentioned in an earlier note, in the ancient pagan world, to devote one's children to the gods in a sacrifice, as a sacrifice is perceived as the highest act of piety, whereas to God it is the lowest act of abomination. They do that. And this could happen even within the worship of Yahweh. But now he reminds us again. Chapter 13, verse one. This is actually Hebrew. Chapter 13, verse one English. Chapter 12, verse 32 Everything I command you. You shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. Moses is here very self-consciously declaring canonical truth. Whose limits are set by his words. Just as the limits of the Decalogue were set by that concluding section in Deuteronomy, God recited all these words until they were complete. That's it for me. Sure. And that's a separate document. And now, as he had done in chapter four, verse two, Moses affirms that the word I am giving you is canonical truths that you must take and accept the whole thing. It's all or nothing. You do not add and you do not subtract. Well, the first paragraph, this first paragraph describes the circumstances in which the dangers described in verse 32 or verse 30 will lurk when Israel is enjoying the benefits of the Lord's action on their behalf. When Yahweh will have cut off the seven nations enemy nation, seven one when the Israelites have entered into the land, dispossessed the the Canaanites and occupied their territory. And when they are flourishing in the land, we saw the problem of that already in chapter eight. There the issue was then don't forget to say thank you to Yahoo! I don't attribute your well-being to the other gods and certainly don't take credit for it yourself.


[00:07:40] See what my hands have done. Well, that is the context in which the danger lurks. This is not the danger of the desert experience. There's not much evidence of idolatry in those days. I there had other issues, but this doesn't seem to be the one from Chapter eight. We know that this is when you have to be on guard. Bail was bail ism was, above all else, the fertility religion of this land. Now, there were fertility religions all around, but Bell and Ashira and a bunch of uniquely Canaanite deities. They're really the same gods as you find elsewhere. Only each country had its own name for them. In Israel, it was bail ism. When they are flourishing in the Deity nation land covenant relationship, when that is fully operated, then people will be curious about, look, I wonder how the previous inhabitants served their gods because it worked for them. And sometimes especially, I suppose if the rains don't come for a few days, you say, Maybe I am praying to the wrong God. Let's go directly to the storm God. That's when the native religion rears its ugly head and they will be tempted to seek security in the traditional gods of this land. When you move into another people's land, you worship the gods of that land. And maybe it's because we're not worshiping the gods rightly. And so this is the problem. Besides the materialistic preoccupation, the rituals associated with the images people can see and touch and be attracted to. They perhaps the people were tired of the high ethical standards of the ways of theirs, were the emphasis You can't even touch. You can't see your God. He's stuck away in the holy of holies back there. We never see him.


[00:09:49] Maybe this spiritual religion is they get tired of it. And especially if you lack the spirit of the God whom you are worshiping, you will certainly tire of trying to perform the spiritual, ethical side of it. In Chapter 13, Moses unpacks the threat and its possible consequences in one of the most coherent and logically constructed subunits in all of Deuteronomy. If you are analyzing this text, you have no trouble figuring out the main points, the main sections, the close stylistic links between this text and the Hittite and neo Assyrian treaty curses demonstrate that conceptually this chapter is completely at home in the second and first millennial world of the ancient Near East. So let's have a look at the structure. It divides into three parts, each of which the sub divides into two parts. So three parts main parts with two sub points, the part one of each and if. If and if clause in the third person functions as the processes for a long, complex sentence. If this happens and then we have another part assist in the second person. If somebody does this, then you do this. He changes person prescribing the Israel's response to this conspirators that Yahoo way requires of the Israelites. And of course, these are conspiracies. They are conspiracies against total allegiance to your way. That's the problem they detract you from. Jimi? IZRAEL Yeah. Well, or any way of hard and you shall love the Lord your God with all your inner being, with all your person and with all your resources. Nothing left over for the other gods. And then we have actually a third part, a complex motive clause in each case begins with key in each class. That clause begins with if, when, and then subdivided into two parts.


[00:12:21] We have in each of these three paragraphs an introduction of the instigators of the sedition. And this is how we have to treated the parallels, especially with neo Assyrian texts from the first century, which drive contemporary scholars largely to view to to date all of this stuff to the period of the neo Assyrians, the time of Josiah, and later in the neo Assyrian counterparts. They're all political treaties and the threat is going declaring your allegiance to another person other than Esarhaddon with whom you have this treaty, or his son Ashurbanipal who to whom you are to be loyal as well. So this is sedition. Getting people to be disloyal to the God of the treaty and going after other gods. Then you have the introduction of the instigators, then a quotation of their seditious speech, Let's go and serve other gods. We'll see how the variations of this, the first part of the US assist the response charges the hearers to resist the conspiracy lawyers by not listening to them. And then the third demands diligent inquiry to ensure that rumors of sedition are true. And if you discover that they are true, it's very harsh reaction. This is the ultimate evil. The second part calls for the execution of the leaders in the sedition, the ineffective rhetorical style. The commands increase in length with each new scenario, and the intensity in becomes greater as one moves from the respective charges. The first one, you've got seven words, then 17 words, and then 41 words. We'll see how this works out in a moment. So here we are. We've got a synopsis of the three seditious scenarios, disloyal scenarios in Deuteronomy 13 identified on the basis of who the instigator of the sedition is. In case number one, the instigator is the prophet.


[00:14:53] If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams comes along and tells you, Let's go serve other gods in the second one, if is, it's a family member. If your brother, the son of your mother, or yours, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace, or your friend who is your own person, who is as your own person entices, you secretly say. So we're moving from a professional person with a professional attachment to deities. That's a prophet. To a member of the family. And then the last case is the city rabble. If you here in one of your cities that Yahweh, your God, is giving you to dwell in there, that certain worthless fellows, sons of Belial, sons of nastiness, and of course the New Testament talks about we were so weak, we were sons of perdition and, you know, Sons of wrath, which means we are the natural heirs getting what we want. Well, here, Sons of Belial, it puts them in the class like sons of the prophets who are supposedly doing good stuff. These guys are nasty guys. If certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city saying and then he he will follow that saying up in each case with a quotation. This is what they're saying. This is the seductive, have drawn a way, have sucked you in. And that's the problem with idolatry. It sucks you in. Well, these are the instigators. If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams know the difference between prophecy and dreamer of dreams, these are overlapping categories. As we will see in chapter eight, there were many different means by which the Ancients sought to learn the minds of their gods. And here, prophet or Dreamer of dreams, I think, functions as shorthand for the whole list of categories you will find in Chapter 18 of people who are trying to make contact.


[00:17:11] But here they come on the scene as profiteers, and they give you a sign and a wonder. And later, Moses will say to the Israelites in Chapter 818, If a prophet shows up among you, let him, His words be accompanied by signs and wonders. So these are these. It's it's like the magicians at the time when Moses was having Moses get the Israelites out of Egypt, they can do lots of things that true prophets do. And just because a sign accompanies the prophecy or the dream doesn't by itself guarantee its veracity. But that's what. Well, even in Jesus, they. They came to Jesus and it's okay. Give us some sides and some wonders, and then we'll believe you. And he he won't get drawn into that, of course. And then the second category, you're a member of your family, though, even the wife you embrace, don't let them seduce you into following another God secretly. Of course, you would never do it out in the open. Now we're in the house. Then within the household. We don't want the neighbors. But in this house we are not serving the Lord Joshua's words. We are serving other gods. And of course, the last category are the nastiest people in the city. And now we look like that. It looks like we are getting mob rule. The crowd is saying, let's do this. And they have all been sucked in and they had inhabitants of the city are saying, And so here you have their induction speech. This is their attraction. The first one is very simple Let us go after Gods. And then he adds, which you have not known. That's Moses insertion. You know nothing about those gods. You've never had a relationship with them.


[00:19:21] You know that others serve them, but they're not your gods and never serve them. And again, that word serve here. Let us become their vassals. They were slaves of Egypt. God, God brought them out to be his vassals and honorific role being His agents of grace and light to the world. But now let us serve them. Really turns back into let us become enslaved again to the other gods because they are not liberating deities. The second one is is longer. Here. Let us go. Let's serve other gods. Let's become vassals to other gods, which neither you nor your father's have known. Some of the gods of the people show around, whether near you or far off from one end of the earth to the other. And now it's like chapter four. Do research to see if anything like this has ever happened before. God's great grace in bringing us out of Egypt. Has any other God ever tried to go from one end of the earth, one end of the heavens to the other? And of course, the answer there is there's no other God like Yahweh here. They are so desperate to worship other gods that they're going to go and seek whatever God there is out there. Just to be sure. Just to be sure. And then the last one is back to the simple. The people of the crowd are simply shouting, Let us go and let us serve other gods, which Moses insertion you have not known. You've got no business with those gods. They are not your gods. They may be the gods of the land. Well, the apotheosis then gives us the required prescribed response. We talked earlier before the session started. What does it mean to listen? Well, you shall not listen to the words of the prophet.


[00:21:22] Not even to the sound of the words left alone. The message they are communicating. Don't listen to the words of the prophet or that dreamer of dreams for Yahweh. Your God is testing you. Oh, now we have another test. It is that internal test. How do you respond when prosperity hits? We saw this in chapter eight. He is testing you to know. Not that he doesn't know what's in your heart, but to expose, to prove that everybody knows and that you know whether or not you love your way. And again, we would need to insert here you demonstrate love for your way with your whole being, with your your heart, your inner being, with your whole being. You walk after Yahweh, your God, you fear him. You keep his commands, you listen to his voice, you serve him and you hold fast to him. This is the allegiance, remember? You fear him in that spectrum that we showed several times already trusting or allegiance to your way alone. His voice. We listen to him. We serve to him. We hold fast. In the second instance, if it is your family member whose doing, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, your eyes shall, nor shall your I pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. Notice this is in the context of worshiping secretly in your house. Don't hide the problem. Don't conceal the problem person. No pity here and now it becomes obvious that the same disposition that the Israelites were supposed to have toward the Canaanites in Chapter seven showed them no mercy. They are supposed to show toward their own family members. This gets really, really tough here if it is at home. And in the third case, if the mob is out here trying to get the whole city into this, then you shall inquire.


[00:23:46] And explore search asked diligently. And look if it's true and if it is confirmed that such an abomination has been perpetrated. But of course, he's anticipating the ultimate solution. Which is haram. But you don't do that lightly. You do it only after you have actually confirmed that this abomination is being perpetrated here. So it's not like God has fun slaughtering people, nor does he want people to have fun slaughtering people. This is very serious business and you don't walk into it glibly. But now you notice what they do with the executioners, with the instigators. And here's what is the the variation in the length of the solution. Just a few words in the first one. Double the number of words in the second one. And then it's a long exposition in the third. That profit or that dreamer of dreamers shall be put to death. Period. That's it. These are people who come in from outside. They're presumably aliens. They could be Israelites, but they they come into the community and they say, let us go after other gods. Put them to death. Finished the middle one. If it's your family member, but you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death. Don't pawn this off on somebody else. I am so glad that when we get to the command concerning the rebellious son. But God spared. Moses spares father and mother. The pain of executing their own. Son for your responsibility and rebellion. There, he says, the elders. You go and do it. But here, if it is somebody in your own household who is leading you astray, you stone him to death with stones. Of course. I guess that's what it means. But again, Hebrew likes to have the verb and the object of the verb with us within the same sentence.


[00:26:07] It's bad English style, but it's Hebrew. But the last one. You shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction. This is harassment. All who are in it and its cattle because they have all been contaminated by the germ. You shall gather all its small into the midst of the open square and burn the city, spoil with food and all its fall with fire as a whole. Burned offering to Yahoo a year ago. This is a sacred moment. I mentioned the other day that the word haram comes from the same semantic field as Kadosh Kadesh to sanctify, but in this case it is not sanctified so that people can use it for proper duty, but is to sanctify so radically that no human being can ever touch it. And because it's gone, it's all burnt up. God has exclusive right to it, but treat it as an offering. It shall be a heap forever, yet the city shall never be built again. None of the devoted things shall stick to your hands. And that's the problem. With evil. It can. It's a germ that's communicable. Purity is not communicable, but impurity is. And that's what we have here. So this is radical surgery. And it's not just superficial sanitizer. Get rid of the business. Let none of these haram things. And of course, this reminds us again, that if we have trouble with God commanding the Israelites to slaughter Canaanites for evil, we should remind ourselves that there's a lot more attention in Scripture to what God needs to do with evil people of his own. Then with outsiders, the center of gravity is clearly this. You don't hear many people fussing about that, but they say, How can God tell one people to to commit genocide against another people? And now we discover it's not about genocide, it's not about race.


[00:28:31] It is about the radical quality of the evil. Well, then you have the rationale. Notice that in the last one, there's no rationale. That's all been given in earlier instructions on how to deal with the Canaanites and why you deal with the K tonight that way. So that's all been given. We don't have to talk about that anymore. You know what this means. But with respect to the dream, when if people are seduced by dreamers and prophets because he has taught rebellion against Yahweh, your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, notice, y'know, he keeps reminding them of the gospel. You are heirs of the gospel. Don't go there. Why would you go? But they've done nothing for you. God said, have eyes that don't see your ears, that don't hear and mouths and don't speak. But we have a God who has no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. And yet he speaks and he acts. And we are here because of what he's done for us. That's the scandal of idolatry. Who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the slave house to make you leave the way in which your way you're got to leave. It should be make you live. Have you live in the way in which Yahweh, your God commanded you to walk. Why would you give that up? In the second case, where is your brother, your sister, your father, your mother? Because he sought to suck you away like a vacuum cleaner, away from Yahweh, your God who brought you out of the world? No, She reminds him of the gospel again. Why would you go after other gods who have done nothing for you? And then you have the aim of the response.


[00:30:29] So you shall purge the evil from your midst. Get rid of the the member. And the first case, it's the prophet, the professional who comes in from the outside. Purge The evil from them is by killing the person who was promoting this sedition in the second case. And all Israel shall hear and fear. Now you know what this fear means. This is fear of punishment as motive. This one is fear of punishment. But don't transfer now, this meaning to every other occurrence of the word in the book of Deuteronomy. It is more than it is more than that elsewhere in the book. But here to purge it out of your midst, objectively but subjectively, to let the people of Israel know this is an appropriate and give them reason never to try such wickedness again. It's a prophylactic against future apostasy. But of course, the last one. Now this one, he really fleshes out that we may turn from the fierceness of his anger and show you mercy. This is amazing. Why do you get rid of this? Why do you burn the city that has gone wholeheartedly after the pagan values and wholeheartedly repudiated your way? It's for the sake of the nation. It's like cancer surgery where you have to take off that little bit of a collection of cells that's gone crazy and is threatening to eat or not eat up the whole body. No. Cut it out. That Yahweh may turn from the fierceness of fierceness of his anger and show you mercy and have compassion on you and multiply you as you swore to your father's. If you listen to the voice of your your God. And how do you listen? Oh, not just with headphones and your own this beautiful music and it entertains me as I'm going for my walk along the prairie path in Chicago.


[00:32:46] No, it's not just about a relaxing thing. It's about harkening. Paying attention to and adjusting one's life according to the voice of Yahweh who speaks, other gods don't speak. Yahweh has spoken and you listen to the voice by keeping all the commands. I command you today and do what is right in the sight. And I don't have the Hebrew in front of me in this instance, but I am sure this again is do the right. That's just generic, right? What's right? I mean. Yeah. Yeah. You eat an apple rather than broccoli. That's better than whatever. It's not just generic, right? You in most instances, it is valorized, which is devotion to Yahweh alone, the Supreme Command. That's the big issue. Whom then will we serve is always the issue. Well, the significance of Deuteronomy 13. This text specifies more specifically then and drastically than any other in the book, and probably any other in the First Testament, the seriousness of idolatry in the eyes of God. It's a problem. It is not just another religion. That has something to offer, something to teach us something, whatever. No, it's the competitor to the truth. It is the competitor. The narratives are the narratives offer many illustrations of this dispossession. You have the Levi's Zeal for Yahweh in the Golden Calf episode. Which becomes the foundation of the Lord, setting the Levites apart, at least according to the narrative. This contributes, I'm sure, in the mind of God. He had set the Levites apart earlier, but this is the public confirmation that that they are the people, the Levites zeal they have. Ten are passion. For God alone. There's one finish. I stand against the worshipers of veil of PR, which will have happened only about two weeks ago when Moses is saying this.


[00:35:14] That will have been fresh in their minds. These people survived that fiasco because they stayed true to God or Elijah versus the prophets of bailout Mt. Carmel. What a triumphant moment that was when the fire zapped Elijah. Sacrifice. That is a sign and a wonder proving who is God in Israel or Josiah versus the man monocyte installations in Jerusalem in Judah and his extension of the pogrom against idolatry to the Northern Kingdom. What's Josiah doing in chapter 23? Extending the reforms, the cleansing, the purging to Samaria, which is an Assyrian province. He got no business up there. That's not his kingdom. But I have a feeling he is thinking theologically and spiritually. This is all part of the kingdom that God gave to David. I am a son of David on the throne of David, and I am. We are responsible for the spiritual well-being of the whole business. Politically, it's off base, but theologically and on track. But the narratives also recount several cases that seemed to turn Deuteronomy 13 upside down. Here's one. Gideon When he destroys the altar of bail in his father's back yard. Chapter six When he tore down the altar and bare a veil and the image of Ashura, the townspeople demanded the death of the one who had torn down the altar of bail. You can tell where their allegiance is. And, of course, Gideon's father, Joash, gives this lame excuse. If. If bail is really a God, let him defend himself. Well, if if that's how weak your commitment is to bail, why do you have this altar in your backyard? Or is it front yard? We don't know. But in any case here, it's completely tipped over. It's the pagans demanding the death of the. Shall we say, reformer? Or the townspeople of A.A.


[00:37:39] who attacked Jeremiah for denouncing the nation's treachery of going after bail. Jeremiah, 11 or Jeremiah's enemies, imprisoning him for preaching sedition because he encourages submission to Babylon? No, he's preaching loyalty. They walk by the temple and they see the inscription had called Yahweh the Temple of the Lord, and they walk by the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord. That's their mantra. But they're all going after and they live just like everybody else. There's also New Testament evidence for the same agenda. If anyone does not love your way. A curse beyond him. Maranatha. Come. Oh, Lord. First Corinthians. But even if we are an angel from Heaven, should preach another gospel. We start off here. Let him be eternally condemned. And as we've already said, I say again, if anybody is preaching another gospel, let him be eternally condemned. Or to Peter to one. But there were also false prophets among the people. Just as there will be false teachers among you, they will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who brought them bringing swift destruction on themselves, or Jesus was on the scribes and Pharisees. Whom he had earlier identified as false prophets who lead the people astray. No wonder. Well, even as we speak in wheat and right now. Our colleagues are meeting with our Jewish rabbi friends. I missed that. This is mixed. You can be there in person or you can be zooming in. And I'm I'm missing that conversation today. But even. I understand why our Jewish friends are so upset with Jesus. Because he applies to these. People were saying, no, woe to you. That's that's what it is. That's what a wall is. But idolatry may settle in more subtle, subtly but equally seductively.


[00:40:03] In other ways, it's not obvious. Apostasy is not restricted to the worship of physical idols made of wood or stone or precious metal. You know Tim Keller, his great book on idols. Insightfully, he identifies idolatry as, quote, Whatever you look at and say in your heart of hearts, if I have that, then I'll feel my life has meaning and then I'll know I have value. Then I'll feel significant and secure. But if I don't. Suicides. The response? Life has no meaning. It's empty or job. 31. And this is all religious language. If I placed my confidence in gold or called find gold, my trust, if I've celebrated because my wealth is so great, sounds like Deuteronomy eight or because my own hand has acquired so much. Or if I have gazed at the sun when it was shining, or the moon moving in splendor so that my heart was seduced, secretly enticed, and I threw them a kiss. A kiss. This would be a crime deserving of punishment, for I would have denied God above. Well, in the New Testament, if we had time, we would go to the foolish rich man who said, I'm going to tear down. I don't have burns big enough to hold all the stuff that he's had that produced you idiot, You fool, You've lost it all. It's seduction. This is the word of the Lord. May we stay true to him?