Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz, pastor and evangelist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Denver, CO, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Deuteronomy 12:32-13:18.
Moses again warns the people neither to add nor subtract from God’s Word, particularly with the danger of idolatry in mind. He gives instructions on how to handle three different cases in which idolatry might arise in Israel. In the case of a prophet or dreamer, Israel must test his words against the Word of God. Even if his signs come to pass, the prophet has revealed himself as false. In the case of a family member who is enticing others into idolatry, emotional attachment must not cause the family to fail in standing against false doctrine. In the case of an entire city having gone astray, careful investigation must be made and idolatry must be exterminated, when it is present. The death penalty prescribed in the Old Testament shows the seriousness of idolatry. Paul’s instructions in the New Testament do not give place for such physical punishment, but excommunication from the church is a reminder of the danger of false doctrine and the necessity of clinging to the pure words of Christ.
“The Law of God is Good and Wise” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the book of Deuteronomy. Though Moses’ lengthy sermons in Deuteronomy may be tempting to skip, this influential book is essential reading for Christians. As Moses strengthened Israel on the plains of Moab before the people entered the Promised Land, so the book of Deuteronomy still strengthens the Church as we prepare to enter the Resurrection with Christ, the Prophet greater than Moses.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
32 [a] “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
13 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘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. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil[b] from your midst.
6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace[c] or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. 9 But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11 And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to dwell there, 13 that certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, 14 then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently. And behold, if it be true and certain that such an abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction,[d] all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. 16 You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again. 17 None of the devoted things shall stick to your hand, that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger and show you mercy and have compassion on you and multiply you, as he swore to your fathers, 18 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all his commandments that I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org