Prophets are people who can interpret dreams and display signs and wonders (miracles). In modern times, fortunetellers – people who can tell the future to make you rich; people who foresee what will happen to your life, your family, your job, your wealth. What if their predictions came true? How are children of God to respond to them?
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.
vv.1-2 tell us of the conditions and terms of these ‘prophets.’ Two ifs – if there is prophecy or prediction, and if the prediction came true, third if (implied) the prophet says: Let us follow other gods and let us worship them. v. 3 says ‘you must not listen to the words of the prophet or dreamer.’ Which words? The words telling you to worship other gods – this is idolatry. Why? Because even if the signs and wonders and predictions came true, God is testing you to see whether you love him fully with your heart and soul – that He comes before all the miracles that happened. Why? v. 4 Because it is the Lord your God you must follow and him you must worship. How? We are to keep his commandments and obey what He says, serve him and ‘hold fast’ (stick like epoxy) to him. v. 5 God told the Israelites that they were to kill the prophet or dreamer who tried to lead them into idolatry.
We are often enticed by miracles, signs and wonders. These things attract us and lead us astray from God. Anything that we put before God, anyone we prioritize before God, these are idols. They are not necessarily carved objects of wood or stone placed on the mantel – that we pray to or bow to. But when these things or people lead our heart and soul from following God, when they occupy a big space in our thoughts, then they became our idols.
We need to ‘kill’ these ‘idols’ – kill meaning ‘get rid’ of them. God said ‘ you must purge the evil from among you.’ To purge is to discard, to cleanse, to clear, to remove.
What idols do I need to rid myself of? What takes away my attention from God? How am I distracted from seeking God? from praying to Him? from listening and obeying Him? What or who do I love more than God? Lord, help me to see my idols. Enable me to love you and follow you only.