Deuteronomy 13:1-16 (Part 3) – Come On, Give Him A Chance To Prove He Is Unworthy…

Posted: February 2, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 13:1-16 (Part 3 of 3)

A Warning Against Idolatry

 

What’s going on with America, right now? There is a large segment of Americans that are unwilling to give Donald Trump a chance to prove or disprove that he is worthy of the office that he holds. Late night talk show hosts, actors giving acceptance speeches that veer off into political tirades, women marching to protect their right to use abortion as a form of birth control belting out speeches that would make Richard Nixon blush. Every member of the Trump team is fair game for vitriolic blasting and rather mean humor. And the man has been in office for only 13 days so far. Some like Madonna have even gone as far as to say they want to blow up the White House with Trump in it. They have made decidedly mean remarks about Trump’s wife and what she wears. They have made insidious remarks about Trump’s youngest child, his ten year-old son, Baron.

 

Never before in my lifetime, that now stretches 54 ½ years, have I seen such personally-specific hatred for the person holding the office of the President of the United States. I was old enough in the late 60’s and early 70s to remember the protests against the Vietnam War that filled our television screens (the three channels that we could choose back then – ABC, CBS, and NBC). Those protests were strong and there was a generally higher moral ground that those protests appealed to. There was a general feeling that there was an industrial/military complex at work in our nation to keep us in wars and the ideology of stopping communism wherever we find it was growing tired. Did we really have to have more and more wars after World War II. And in an effort to stop communism at all cost we were picking and choosing and defending the sovereignty of corrupt governments – particularly in South Vietnam. The protests were against our government but not specifically the President. There was still a respect for the office then. Even though Lyndon Johnson was a consummate politician that would make a back room deal with the best of them, he was not necessarily the direct object of hate of the protestors. Johnson, when he took over at the death of Kennedy, was even given time to prove himself before the war protestors began in earnest to protest what we were doing in Vietnam.

 

However, the left seems to have come unhinged at the thought of Donald Trump being President. After years of liberal presidents, and particularly, the last one, Obama, they seem to have lost self-control. Trump-hate is in full force these days. To the liberal left, Trump represents all of the evil forces of the world. He is Darth Vader to them. He is operating the Death Star that is going to destroy the earth – to them. They seem to almost believe that Trump represents racism of centuries gone by. They seem to think that he represents oppression of women’s rights. They think he is going to turn the clock back. They think that he is a tyrant that should be killed. They think that he somehow stole the election. They seem to refuse to believe that the majority of Americans in the majority of the states elected this man because they were tired of seeing America drift further and further to the left. The conservative right was energized by Trump’s brashness and finally spoke up after years of resigning themselves that the liberal agenda was the way of the world – with its transgenderism, liberal elitism, the removal of faith from the public domain. Trump tapped into that quiet and latent anger toward the direction of the country that was being celebrated by the left and the media. Trump did not steal the election. He simply tapped into the latent anger of conservative suburban and rural America. Obama was elected by the liberal urban centers and in both elections failed to carry the majority of suburban and rural counties in America. Trump however solidified these voters in rural and suburban counties across America to produce his victory without carry a single large, liberal urban center.

 

So that is the surprising thing here is that the liberal left, so democratic in nature, so uplifting of individual human rights, refuse to accept the results of the election. They refuse to even give the main a chance to fail as a leader. They have already failed him. Not my President is their battle cry. Yes, he is your President. I did not vote for Obama and could not vote for Clinton, but I respected and accepted that Obama was the President. I prayed that he would make wise decisions while he was in office. I would have done the same if Clinton was in office. I certainly did not agree with Obama’s policies and his support of the liberal elitist agenda. However, he was the President and we had to deal with him and we did so through Congress. Same approach with Clinton had she won. There is a constructive way to voice our opposition. However, the liberal left today, is not even giving this man a chance. They are equating him with Satan from the moment he took office. To much of conservative America (the vast rural and suburban America), the liberal left along with their taking every media opportunity to equate Trump with Satan, just comes off as a temper tantrum. The man has been in office in less than two weeks and they are acting as if he is going to suspend the constitution and institution a dictatorship. Everything associated with Trump including his 10 year old son is fair game for their hatred.

 

That’s the amazing thing here to me is that the liberal elite of our country has long been the champion of the downtrodden, the forgotten, the ostracized. They have been the champions against what they considered close-mindedness against transgender, gays, and all of the oppressed races of our country. Yet, they refuse to allow Trump to prove himself worth or unworthy. They have branded him unworthy without evidence of how he will govern. They want to invalidate the results of the election without a trial. They want to impeach him because they don’t like him. They are displaying the very kind of prejudice that they fight against.

 

Sure, I am not a big Trump fan. I personally felt that of all the Republican candidates, Marco Rubio, would have made the best president. Sure, I think Trump is brash and suffers from foot in mouth disease. Sure, I cringe every time he is interviewed and thus cannot be handled by his handlers. Sure, I think he is ill-prepared to be president. Sure, I think that he had better hire a lot of smart people around him so that he doesn’t get America in trouble that we can’t get out of. Sure, I think he ran for president for egotistical reasons – the last feather in his cap kind of thing. Sure, I think we as Republicans are walking a tight rope with him as President in a way that puts the 2020 elections fully in jeopardy as Trump is, in effect, galvanizing the Democratic party. Sure, I am pretty darn sure that Trump is a one-termer. Sure, I think he most likely will fail miserably as President. My vote for him was not so much a validation of him as “my guy” but as a vote against the wildly liberal agenda of Hillary Clinton.

 

Having said all that, though, Trump may well surprise us and end up being a successful President. Right now, I must give him that benefit of the doubt. I must let there be an accumulation of evidence as to the type of president he is going to be. I must reserve judgment before I say he is not my president (but yet respect that he holds the office). I must reserve judgment and not automatically assume that he is the worst president ever. I must reserve judgment and weigh the evidence that will accumulate before us before I equate him with Satan.

 

That idea of God desiring us to weigh the evidence before judgment is rendered is what I thought of this morning when I read Deuteronomy 13, particularly vv. 12-16. Let us read it together this morning:

 

13 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.

 

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

 

12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in 13 that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely,[b] both its people and its livestock. 16 You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, 17 and none of the condemned things[c] are to be found in your hands. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— 18 because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.

 

In this passage, a town that completely rejected God was to be destroyed so as not to lead the rest of the nation astray. However, Israel was not to take action against a town until the rumor about the rejection of God was proved true. This guideline saved many lives. If we hear of friends who have wandered from the Lord or hear of entire congregations that have gone astray, we should check the facts and find the truth before doing or saying anything that could prove harmful. There are times, for sure, that God wants us to take action but we must be sure that we have our facts straight before we do. God wants us to not react with a mob mentality to things that may or may not be true. God wants us to weigh the evidence. He set up a whole system of justice in the Old Testament that acts as a model to modern court systems today. Nowhere in the Bible does God act without justice. There is always evidence to support why God does what He does in judgment of the peoples in the Bible. He is the Great Judge who makes his judgments based on the evidence presented.

 

But, yet, at the same time, He shows mercy even when the evidence shows a need for just punishment. In Jesus Christ, He shows us the most mercy. In order to be in God’s presence, we must have no sin in us. We must be perfect. We must be completely holy lest we be consumed by the perfection and holiness of God. Sin makes us imperfect. Just one sin taints us from ever having the privilege on our own merits to be in the presence of God in heaven. We are disqualified from the moment of the first sin and the first sin comes early. Not to mention that we commit a lifetime of sins before we reach our judgment day. In the court of God, we cannot claim that one sin was an aberration. We have a lifetime of sinful behavior that establishes a pattern of disregard for God’s law. We thus cannot ask for pre-trial intervention. We are habitual sin criminals before the Judge. We deserve that He should throw the book at us. He should give us the stiffest sentence possible. He is right and just to throw us into the deepest, darkest parts of hell, each and every one of us. However, He gives us a way out through Jesus Christ. God poured out His punishment on Jesus for what should have been our punishment. Jesus took the punishment we deserve. Jesus thus covers us and makes us acceptable in God’s sight. God knows that we are sinners but He gives us grace and imputed holiness and perfection through Jesus Christ.

 

God is a God who gives us grace even though we by the evidence should deserve punishment. He gives us grace even though there is evidence. He withholds judgment through grace. God is a God that is willing to allow us the benefit of the doubt. He should by all rights judge us but He gives us a reprieve through Jesus Christ.

 

It is for that same reason that I am going to give Donald Trump, the arrogant, brash, uncultured ass that he is, a chance to govern before I call for his head. I will give him a chance to govern and gather evidence of his unfitness before I pronounce that Trump is not my president. Let us gather the evidence and make the judgment then. That we should gather evidence before judgment is not only the politically correct thing to do. It is the biblical thing to do.

 

Amen and Amen.

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