This is a continuing series of my reading through the Bible in 2008. I am reading according to a chronological schedule found here: Chronological Bible Schedule.
This week I noticed a few things in Deuteronomy that I found interesting and since these posts are just as much for me as they are for anyone else I am making note of them and I hope they help you as well.
The first epiphany I had related to the way we read and interpret scripture, since I no longer preach on a regular basis I am under a little less pressure to come up with new sermons on a regular basis. That being said, I did find what could be an interesting message in Numbers 32. (I am still a little behind but caught up today) The tribes of Reuben and Gad (and half of Manasseh) decided to settle east of the Jordan, which was not part of the Promised Land. I though it would make a great message along the lines of “Don’t settle for less than God’s best” and I am sure that given the opportunity I could do it justice and many people would be helped and motivated. The question is: Is this type of hermeneutic acceptable to God? Was that the LORD’s intention when he had Moses pen this passage? I don’t believe it is because there isn’t a place I can find where they were condemned for wanting to settle there, although Moses did demand they the fight along side their brethren to gain the Promised Land, which they agreed to do.
It is very easy to find some sort of personal application in the words of the Bible that the authors never intended or would have even understood. The meaning of the passage should be the point of your message, and by your message I mean what you take away from the Bible or what you preach. With all the pressure on our ministers to come up with a ‘fresh revelation’ on the Word of God I can see how we could easily fall into this trap when the fact of the matter is the Body of Christ is far from following the ‘stale revelation’
Deuteronomy 13 is where I found my next interesting passage:
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he 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, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
Firstly, even if someone is able to perform miracles or prophesy correctly doesn’t mean they are not evil, and you should follow them blindly. I often hear a ministry or doctrine supported with the argument of ‘success’: “Well, they have a huge church,” or some such hogwash. This is just a new version of exactly what God is talking about here. Signs and wonders are not enough, we must know that the LORD is the true God and follow no others. Paul says something related to this in Galatians:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
The method is not to be judged alone, but the message. Paul did not care if he preached or an angel showed up to preach it if it wasn’t the Gospel of Christ. There are a great number of false gospels still floating around in the world and we need to know what the true gospel looks like in order to follow it and not be lead astray.
Picture from http://evangelismaction.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/gift-of-the-gospel-week-1/