Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 11-13
Today’s Reflection: Deuteronomy 13:1-3
1) “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.
May 21, 2011 was supposed to be the ‘End of days’. According to American evangelical preacher Harold Camping that date was supposed to have been the rapture—the ascension of God’s faithful into heaven and the beginning of the destruction of the earth (and all those still left on it). Camping and his followers sold and gave away their possessions, quit jobs, and poured their savings into advertising the coming rapture in hopes of saving as many as possible. After May came and went without incident Camping revised his prediction to October 21, 2011. As you can see from the date on today’s message, we’re still here.
Most, even among Christian circles, dismissed Camping (partially because he’s made predictions like this before), but the Bible warns us that people with credible evidences—signs and wonders and prophesies—will come forward in the last days with deceptive new theologies.
Matthew 24:24 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
The text from Deuteronomy warns you not to pay heed to any voice that tells you to go after a God ‘which you have not known’. This is key. God is a personal God, a relational God, a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment God. He is not a God who drops in and performs a spectacular miracle or proclaims an astounding prophesy, then just disappears. God is not about the show or the spectacle. God is about relationships. Though God does use prophesies, miracles and spectacles in service of relationships—to help us understand who He is and what He wants us to do.
If our focus is on spectacle, if we feel we need to see a ‘sign’ to know something is from God, then when false prophets and anti-christs arise with incredible displays of power we can be easily fooled.
Mark 8:11-13 –11) The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12) And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
But if our focus is on the God ‘whom we have known’, those false figures will be seen for the frauds they are, and their incredible feats will be exposed as the cheap parlor tricks they are.
The key to not being deceived then, goes beyond knowing about God and right to knowing God Himself. The way to ensure you are not deceived is to have a personal relationship with God and love Him with all of your heart.