Monday Reflection – July 14, 2019
The Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Deuteronomy 13:3
Hear the context of today’s Watchword: “If prophets or those who divine by dreams appear among you and promise you omens or portents,and the omens or the portents declared by them take place, and they say, “Let us follow other gods” (whom you have not known) “and let us serve them,” you must not heed the words of those prophets or those who divine by dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.”(vs 1-3)
The text outlines that dreams can be from God, or they can be false prophesies. We should allow God to bring confirmation to any dream we believe brings a message from him. Interestingly, this text is not focused on a prophet who speaks a word and it does not come to pass. Rather, it is about a prophet who speaks a word and it comes to pass, but then say that they should follow other gods and serve them. For Moses, such prophets and dreamers should be ignored.
What is critically required here is discernment. In this age where popularity and falsehood are the order of the day in Christendom, Christians cannot neglect the importance of discernment. The reality of signs and wonders can never be the only evidence of truth or the revelation by God. Indeed, those who are immediately convinced at the sight of supernatural power or reality are in danger of great deception. Godly discernment will always carefully examine the message of a prophet or dreamer, instead of the spiritual experiences which he or she perform. No prophecy can be true if it speaks against what God has already revealed in his word.
We are reminded of John’s admonition, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). No matter how impressive or accurate a prophet’s miracles or prophecies, his credibility hangs on whether he leads people toward or away from God. For Richard Ritenbaugh, the following questions must be answered before we judge a person as a true or false prophet:1. Does he claim to prophesy in God’s name or in a false god’s name?
2. Do his prophecies come to pass?
3. Does he teach the truth based on God’s Word?
Yet, Moses points out that all this is a test for God’s people to determine the sincerity of their allegiance to God. God allows deceivers to exist among his people so as to allow the hearts of his people to be tested and proven, to see if they really love the God of truth or are merely seeking a spiritual sign or experience. This forces us to ask some serious questions – Why do we really serve God? What is our motive for following God? What benefits are we seeking? Are we seeking wonders and signs, prosperity and blessings? May we be reminded that God will ultimately separate those who are true from those who are not, and each of us will receive our just reward.