READ: Deuteronomy 13-15
THINK: Have you ever been fooled by persuasive words or a pleasing personality? Chances are you've already discovered that not everything is what it seems. There are a lot of phony people-even counterfeit Christians. Hopefully people don't think that about you. Yet, it's just as easy to fool people as it is to be fooled by them. Either way, the consequences can be devastating. The ultimate safeguard against being caught up in misguided motives is to keep your eyes on Christ and to keep your mind attentive to His Word. He and His word are Truth. And as any good banker knows, the best way to recognize a counterfeit is to be intimately familiar with the real thing.
RESPOND: In what ways can people be influenced or deceived into following misguided religious ideas? (See 13:3 note.) How might people today distort God's message or imitate His works in a way that misguides others? What are some traits of ministers that might fool people who lack spiritual discernment? (See 13:3 note, subpoint 3.) How can we keep from being deceived by these things? How does God view people who mislead others or entice them to follow ungodly practices (cf. 13:6-11)? Why do you think God severely judged those who worshiped other gods and enticed others to do so? Why is it highly unlikely that God was condoning the use of intoxicating beverages in 14:26? (See 14:26 note and article on Wine in New Testament Times, p. 14 in the FBSE.) Why did the ancient Israelites have no excuse for leaving anyone in poverty after they had entered the promised land (15:4,7-8)? In this ungodly world there will always be some who are poor (15:11), but how can we help alleviate poverty in our communities? How should we respond to people in need when we have the means to help them (15:7-8,10)? How should God's people treat those who work for them (cf. 15:12-15)?
PRAY: Pray for discernment to recognize spiritual deception and for discipline to avoid it. Pray for the less fortunate in your community, asking God for ideas regarding how you can demonstrate active compassion to those in need.
ACT: With God's help in all you do today, set the best example you can of what it means to trust, follow and honor God. Do something practical to bless, encourage or assist someone in need or less fortunate than yourself.
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