The Lord’s anger burned against idolatry. It was something the LORD hated. Especially as it took the lives of the most vulnerable–babies. After hundreds of years and the blood of the children staining the soil, the LORD had beyond enough. And now, he wanted to let the Isarelites, a people consecrated to God, just how serious he was about the sin of idolatry.
- If a prophet had a dream and that dream came true and it appeared he was a “true” prophet, but yet he encouraged other people to follow other gods, that “prophet” was to be put to death because he urged rebellion against the LORD who delivered you from Egyptian slavery (13:1-5)
- If a family member or closest friend urges you to go worship others gods, you are not to spare them but also they too are to be put to death for trying to turn you away from the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt (13:6-11)
- If one of your cities turns to idolatry, you are to investigate and if it’s true, they too must receive the death penalty. They and all their possessions including livestock and spoils are to be burned and destroyed.
That seems harsh. Unless you see the rivers of blood that had defiled the land by these pagan practices. That and the sexual immorality which was such a violation of the holiest part of who we are created to be.
It doesn’t mean today we are to put to death those who are practicing idolatry. Israel was a covenant people set aside for him to be holy. But it was written so that we would know the seriousness of idolatry. How angry it made the LORD.
As people who were delivered from Egypt were put to death by serving idols, how much more should we who are delivered by the blood of Jesus makes sure we too do not fall into idolatry?
Again I think of those in the church who not only read but uphold books and movies and such on witchcraft and divination. They are well-written and entertaining and deadly to the soul.
Also there are attitudes of our hearts to go our own way that are the same spirit. In fact, the Scriptures say that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Sam 15:23).
When we think of rebellion we think of people rioting, but rebellion is something of the heart. It’s a defiance or carelessness of God’s laws. It’s picking and choosing what to obey. This is rampant in the church as sin is hardly seen as sin anymore.
Again, we don’t go around killing people. But on the other hand, we don’t just ignore these sins. We need to deal with it in our lives, and deal with things at the church level.