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“As the serpent proved in the Garden, man is easily deceived and led away from the safety of God's commands and liberty of His laws. The 13th chapter of Deuteronomy addresses this weakness by instructing Israel how to respond to three powerful influences which the deceiver would be disposed to use in drawing them into idolatry in its many forms. First, they are told how to deal with false prophets (verses 1- 5), lest they should be captivated by signs and wonders and lured into error. Second, they are instructed how to deal with their closest relatives (versus 6-11), since the strength of family allegiance often overpowers fidelity to God. Third, they are told how they should respond to a neighboring city given over to idolatry (verses 12-18), so that patriotism or national pride would not lead them away from the path of truth.

Though the application of the death penalty strikes the modern Christian as extreme, each of these cases has its parallel today. Consider first, the pressure to follow self- professed prophets and charismatic (not only in the spiritual sense of the word), pastors who dazzle the eyes of the people with all sorts of inducements to worship God in ways that He has never prescribed. And what of the inducements of close family members to false worship? The pressure to compromise worship in principle for the sake of not giving offense to parents, brothers, sisters or close friends remains a powerful stumbling block for many contemporary Christians. Finally, the pressure to cling to group loyalties, whether ethnic or ecclesiastical and follow them in the practice of man- centered worship, continues to lead many astray.

God's instructions to His people through Moses imposed the most severe punishment upon the source of stumbling, from which we should learn the importance of placing zeal for the purity of God’s worship above every competing influence and loyalty.” (Comin 53-54)

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