Words from the Weary Wilderness - Lenten Journey Day 24
Day Twenty-Four - Tuesday, March 29
When We Are Tempted to Worship Another
Read: Deuteronomy 13:6-10
6 If anyone secretly entices you—even if it is your brother, your father’s son or your mother’s son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend—saying, “Let us go worship other gods,” whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, 8 you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. 9 But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 Stone them to death for trying to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Today’s Word from the Weary Wilderness: Stone them to death for trying to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 13:10)
Reflection: In the wilderness, everything depended upon fidelity to the God of Israel. There was no tolerance for worshipping other gods. Not only was it idolatry and ultimately apostasy, it was also a threat to order and peace. The penalty was death for any man or woman who tried to lead a person astray to other gods. I find it interesting that scripture reveals that even the “most intimate friend” (v.6) may try to convince someone to change allegiances. What does that say to us, when we live in a world where sports and leisure activities have taken over the Sabbath, and team spirit, boats, and beach houses take priority over weekly worship and church activities? Stoning seems severe, but it is what is called for in scripture when one person goes astray or invites others to join them. Today that might translate to inviting people on beach weekends or to join the travel baseball squad. How does this feel to you if you are involved in weekend activities that keep you from going to church on Sundays? How does it feel when you invite someone to skip (or quit) church? What is the answer for us in our world today?
Prayer: God of the Wilderness, we see the peril of the people. There are numerous temptations, and numerous punishments. How should we appropriate these instructions in our own lives in the 21st century? What is faithful? Guide us in your ways. Amen.
Blessings of Peace and Health,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
& Chief Missional Strategist