In Deuteronomy 13:6-9 God tells the Israelites that if one of their neighbors tempts you to go and worship other gods “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. But you shall kill him.” We can sometimes be shocked by this kind of language God uses in the Old Testament because we don’t see this kind of strong language in the New Testament, and it seems inconsistent with the kind of person we see in Jesus Christ. Today Christians would never think of killing someone for worshipping a false god, and we would be correct to not think that. Nevertheless, the language of Deuteronomy 13 serves as a potent reminder of how much God detests our giving honor or glory to someone or something else, how much God despises idolatry. After all, what is idolatry? Idolatry is any time we esteem honor or praise or glory to someone or something else more than we do to God. And if we are honest with ourselves, we engage in idolatry more than we realize or more than we care to admit. How often would we rather watch TV than spend time in God’s word? How often would we rather sleep in rather than attend church? How often would we rather do anything else than spend serious time in prayer? Thankfully, God does not command that we be killed for this. But Deuteronomy 13 reminds us how much God hates our loving the things of this world more than we love him, how much it grieves him to see us give more time and honor and glory—and worship—to the things of this world more than we do to him. Today, I encourage you to spend some quiet time, some real worship time, with God.
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