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. (Deuteronomy 13:1-4 NIV)
One theme here is knowledge – knowing or not knowing another God, knowing God’s commands.
Contrast between the prophet / dreamer and God himself, between the gods they do not know and the one they do (the Lord). Also seems to be a contrast between God’s revelation in law (which trumps other means) and the revelation through prophecy and dreams.
We live in a world of data – of falsifiable theories. The whole modern idea of knowledge rests, in some fashion, on the first example here. If the evidence at hand backs up the statement then that statement is true.
I realize that same is true of our “theories” and practices in the modern church. If it works, we seem to say, it is ok. But is it? Is what we are doing consistent with what we know from the Scriptures? Just because it works doesn’t mean it is right or good or moving us toward God.
And that’s the test – does what is claimed, does what seem real, lead me toward my Creator – or away? Is the seemingly verified reality in line with what I know of God? Do I test things this way – I am not sure how much I really do and how often, by contrast, I go by the evidence of what works / seems true.
O Lord, it is easier to be pragmatic than obedient. It is easier to accept eviden