Enticements Away From Duty
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

I think it would be wise for us to have a word or two of review so that we can all start out on an even footing in our understanding of the Word. We are studying the book of Deuteronomy, and we have discovered that the book of Deuteronomy falls naturally into divisions provided by the Holy Spirt. We have suggested to you that if we all find the outline provided by the Holy Spirt, then we will always be able to understand the book.

We have discovered that the book of Deuteronomy is made up of three discourses, one blessing and, as strange as it may sound, one obituary because Moses is the only man of whom there is any record as having written his own obituary before he died. Some individuals write the plans for their funerals before they die, but Moses wrote his obituary, even to the manner in which he died before he died. As we have said to you before, this presents a problem to a lot of folk, but if we believe in the inspiration of the Word of God, which we do, then there is no problem because the Holy Spirit is able to project the individual into the future and let him see what needs to be seen as far as the future is concerned.

In our study thus far, we have considered the first four chapters which represent the first discourse which Moses delivered. Keep in mind that Moses and the children of Israel were encamped on this side Jordan, just before they went into the land of Canaan, for a period of forty days. The book of Deuteronomy covers that length of time. This does not suggest that Moses preached day after day for forty days, but it does suggest that this was a protracted meeting in which these discourses were delivered over a period of forty days. The first four chapters, representing the first discourse, was a review of Israel's failures and God's faithfulness so that as they went into the land of Canaan, they might be reminded of the danger of falling, heeding the proverb, “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall,” and being reminded that if God could be faithful in the midst of their failures, certainly He could be faithful when they were in the land which He had promised to them.

The second discourse began with chapter 5 and it goes all the way through chapter 26. We said that this discourse might be termed The Repetition of the Law of God . When we speak of the law of God, we are speaking of the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the judicial law of God. If you are an alert student and compare what you find in the book of Deuteronomy with what you find in the book of Leviticus, you will find some differences. Those differences will not be found in relation to the moral law, which we noticed was found in chapters 5-11. There were no differences in the moral law except amplification and exhortation because the moral law never changes whether you are living in the age of law or in the age of grace. The principles of righteousness are always the same. However, you will find distinctions and differences in the ceremonial and judicial law, as I said, if you are an alert student.

Those differences trouble a great many people, especially the liberalists, those who question the reliability, the authenticity of the Word of God. We would suggest to you that those differences are due to at least two things. One, they represent a review. There is not as much need in a fourth review for detail as there is in a primary review. So when you find some things left out in Deuteronomy that you find in the book of Leviticus, you can attribute it to the fact that it was a review. Another reason the differences are there is that in the book of Leviticus, the commands, the injunctions, the suggestions given were related to a nomadic people, a people who were traveling from one place to another. They were not located in any certain, definite place.

Now that they were to go into the land and become residents of the land of Canaan and build a nation within the boundaries of the land that was promised to them, of necessity differences would be made. One of them we noticed in chapter 12, where we were told that they no longer could worship God at any particular place that they chose. They must worship Him in the place where He placed His name. At this particular time in our information, if we could not anticipate ourselves and go further in the Word of God, we would not know where that place was; but because we are able to anticipate the experience of which we speak and go beyond it, we know that the place where God placed His name was the city of Jerusalem.

This second discourse, which begins with chapter 5 and continues through chapter 26, deals with the moral law in chapters 5-11. It deals with the ceremonial law in chapters 12 through most of chapter 16. It will deal with the judicial law in the remaining portion of chapters 16-28. So to bring us up to date, we are in the midst of the second discourse which Moses delivered to the children of Israel as they were on this side Jordan, waiting to go into the land of promise.

The last time we met together, we considered chapter 12 of the book of Deuteronomy in which there was emphasis placed upon the need for continuous obedience to the law of God. As a matter of fact, the paragraph closed, if you will glance there at the last paragraph of chapter 12, with the admonition that nothing should be added to nor taken away from the Word of God. Notice verse 32:

Deuteronomy 12:

32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

The Israelites were considered by many as a rebellious people, but if you observe them closely, you will discover that they were a tender-hearted people, and they were always glad to obey. Their rebellion came in the process of obedience. For example, when the Ten Commandments were given originally, do you recall what they said? “All that God has said, we will do,” and they said it with all of the vigor of their being; but before the words had dried upon the air, so to speak, they were busy disobeying. So when we realize that Moses said to them, “When you go into the land, you must be careful not to add to nor to take from the Word of God,” we can expect them to have trouble because though they were willing and wanted to do what they knew was right, their hearts found it difficult to obey; and of course, the reason is the enemy of their souls, the enemy of our souls, placed in their way all of the enticements that he thought would keep them from keeping all of God's Word.

We have asked you to keep in mind I Corinthians, chapter 10, as we study these Old Testament books because we are not interested primarily in your assimilating knowledge so that you can say, “In such and such a chapter in the book of Deuteronomy, there is such and such information.” You will recall that in I Corinthians, chapter 10, Paul reminded us that all of these things were written for our examples, for our types, for our lessons, for illustrations for us. So as we consider the subject of chapter 13—namely enticements away from duty—I trust that you will be able to look upon some of the things that we see in this chapter as illustrations of these enticements which are placed in our way away from the duty of obedience that God has placed upon every one of us.

Prophetic Revelations

The first enticement that is described in chapter 13, I have labeled, for want of a better expression, Prophetic Revelations . If you want to label it some other way, you feel free to do that. This is just an aid to memory. Will you notice the first five verses, please, of chapter 13:

Deuteronomy 13:

1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

I would like for you to notice that the prophet was raised up by the permission of God, but not of God for the purpose of testing His people. The prophet had two things in mind. One is suggested by the words which you will find in the early part of verse 5: “…to turn you away from the Lord your God…” The Hebrew word for turned away , is the word carah , and it describes a continuous turning away from the Lord, a continuous, slow deviation from the truth. God permits false prophets to arise, and those false prophets can slowly but surely turn you away from the truth as a continual dripping wears away a stone.

Then you will notice in that same verse, another phrase: “…to thrust thee out of the way…” This phrase, thrust away , comes from the Hebrew word nadach , which means pretty much what our King James translation suggests. It suggests an instantaneous and sudden departure from the truth—not something that is slow and deliberate where you don't realize it has happened until after it has happened, but a climactic sort of a thing. This is brought about by this enticement (And this is the important part of our emphasis at the moment.) prophetic revelation because if you were listening as I read the passage, you noticed that the prophets were not of God. That is, they were not sent by Him. Yet, they had the power to produce the signs or the wonders of verse 2.

The reason that I am emphasizing that is that we are living in a day that I believe is close to the end of the age, when there is an increase in demon activity and an increase in the efforts of Satan to deceive the very elect. If you keep in mind, according to Paul's letter to the Corinthians, that the Devil himself can clothe himself as an angel of light, you do not need to believe that everybody who speaks in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is necessarily speaking for Him. Keep that in mind, please. And if you keep in mind that this passage of Scripture emphasizes that false prophets will arise who are able to perform signs and wonders, that everybody who performs a miracle today is not necessarily ( I am trying to choose my words carefully.) acting with the command of God—permissively, perhaps, but not necessarily acting at the command of God.

I don't know how many times I have been asked to comment on the ministry of different individuals who seem to be miracle-workers. I am usually asked, “Now, what about that? They did perform that miracle. Look at what they did. Can you deny that?” I never attempt to deny miracles, nor do I ever argue with experience; but I would like to emphasize that just as certainly as the Israelites were in danger of being enticed away from obeying God's Word by dreamers and miracle workers, in the end of the age, in which I believe we live, there is a great danger of people being enticed away from obedience to the Word of God by signs and wonders, miracles and supernatural manifestations. And, for the purpose of our discussion at the moment, it is beside the point where the power comes from. Look again at verse 3 and notice what God said:

Deuteronomy 13:

3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet [speaking of a false prophet], or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

If what I am saying to you is true and you are thinking, and I trust that you are, the question that naturally arises in your minds is, “How are we going to know? What is going to be the basis of our decision? What is going to be the basis of our actions?” My answer is, “The Word of God, the law and the testimony. Any experience that contradicts the Word of God is open to question. It does not matter how sincerely it may have come. It does not matter the person who may have brought it about. Any experience which magnifies self and directs attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ is open to question. Miracle or no miracle, the foundation of our faith must be the Word of God. So before we go tearing off after something that seems wonderful and marvelous because it has a miraculous element about it, let us examine it in the light of the Word of God. If the Word of God verifies it, then well and good. If it doesn't, then be careful because false prophets do have power to work miracles and perform signs and wonders. Since that is true, you dare not place the basis of your experience upon some happening. It must be upon the Word of God.

Personal Revelations

So the first enticement that the Devil used in relation to Israel was what I have referred to as Prophetic Revelations , because the prophets came along and they said, “You listen to us.” Then they performed a miracle—a sign—to verify what they called their office of prophecy, and the people listened to them and were led astray after things which were inconsistent to the Word of God; and God said, “Test the prophet. Don't fall prey to what he has to say simply because there is a miraculous element about it.”

Let's pass on to the next enticement that the Devil lays out before the Israelites and, as I say by way of illustration, before us. Look at the paragraph which begins with verse 6:

Deuteronomy 13:

6If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
7Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
8Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
9But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
10And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
11And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

This second paragraph presents the second enticement which I have been pleased to label Personal Relationships . The alliteration, I trust, will aid your memory: Prophetic Revelations, Personal Relationships. Yes, if Satan would have the Israelites disobey God, then he would involve those who were nearest and dearest to them—father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, best friend.

You will notice that the Spirit of God said, according to verse 6, “…entice thee secretly…” This word entice is an interesting thing. You know, a preacher stands up and he declares his message, be it false or true. If it is false, you accept it or you may not accept it. You may never hear that preacher again, but there may be that little seed of doubt that is dropped into your heart or your mind and it may grow over a period of time, but he is not enticing you. He is preaching false doctrine.

I have often suggested to you that Hebrew words are picturesque and sometimes the picture is more effective to my way of thinking than a literal translation of the word. The word that is translated entice here is the word that is usually translated thorn , and that presents a tremendous picture to my mind of how it is that our loved ones, our personal relationships, come between us and full obedience to the Word of God. A thorn pricks, doesn't it? A thorn prick gets under the skin. Someone was telling me about having taken their child to the doctor to get a mesquite thorn out of the foot. It had gone so far under the skin. We use the colloquial expression quite often, “You're getting under my skin.” We use that often, don't we?

You don't get under a person's skin by one statement. He might not even hear the first one. But you keep on keeping on on the same thing and sooner or later you are going to get under his skin. This is the secret of enticing people away from the things of God, and it is done by those who are nearest and dearest to us quite often. They entice us from following after the things of God by dropping words here and there, by practices, by suggestions, and you find it difficult to follow on in the things that you know are right. Particularly is this true if there are two people in the family and one of them believes one way in the family and one of them believes the other.

What should be your response to those folk who are close to you, whether they are members of your immediate family or friends? You are warned against something if you look down at verse 8:

Deuteronomy 13:

8Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him…:

Notice the order of the words. We believe in the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. We believe that the words are ordered, and the consenting comes before the hearkening. This word consent comes from a word which literally means to rest content . It pictures a man who tunes out a nagging wife. Do you know anything about that? You don't tell her to shut up. You just learn to tune her out. You know what I am talking about. Children have a way of tuning out their parents. They don't dare say, “I don't want to hear that any more.” They just rest content. The danger of resting content when false doctrine is presented is that sooner or later, you will begin to listen. Sooner or later, it will get through.

The word hearken means to prick up your ears and say in so many words, “What is that you said?” Oh, it had been said many times, but you had been resting content and then suddenly, out of the clear blue, “What is that you said?” It sounds attractive, and you become attentive to it. The first thing you know, you begin to wonder if perhaps what is suggested is not true. I say that the enticement that the devil places in the way of believers in relation to the obedience to the Word is that enticement that comes through personal relationships, be they the personal relationship of the immediate family or close friends.

The Lord Jesus Christ warned against such much better than I could possibly do, so will you turn in your Bibles, please, to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 10, remembering that the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of this very same thing that we are talking about. Notice the paragraph beginning with verse 35:

Matthew 10:

35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Notice what He said: “A man's foes shall be they of his own household.” How wonderful it is to live in a household where this isn't true. How good God has been to me. How good it is to live in a household where all the family is Christian and all want the will of the Lord. But let me tell you, because I've lived in both kinds of households, when you don't live in a household like that, a man's foes, indeed, can be they of his own household.

I never will understand the Lord's matchless grace. He reached down into an unsaved family and saved me out of an unsaved, profane, godless family, and I lived in such a family for a few years, the only Christian in the family. It was only after I was married and God gave me my own family that I knew what it meant to live in a household that was in harmony in the Spirit of God. The folk in my own household were indeed the foes of my life, for they did more to hinder and to halt my growth with the Lord than even people on the outside did. There came a time when it was necessary in my life, as difficult as it was, to deny my father and my mother and go the way the Lord wanted me to go.

Of course, I will say, because God is gracious, that I had the privilege of seeing them saved. I had the privilege of leading my father to the Lord. I had the privilege of having them sit in the audience and rejoice at the message I preached, but at the time, I had to deny them.

The Lord Jesus Christ is reminding us, just as certainly as Moses reminded Israel, that personal relationships can hinder you from going on with God; and may I remind you that this is true, you young people, particularly in those associations that you make that sometimes lead to serious relationships, for there have been any number of young people who have denied their faith in the Lord because of a close relationship with someone they thought they loved, and perhaps they did. I can think of a young person today who broke a relationship with a young man, and I believe with all my heart that she loved that young man very dearly, and I am convinced that he loved her, but she broke that relationship with him because he was not yielded to Christ and he would not yield. She is married to somebody else today and loves the man she is married to, but I do not believe in the same manner and the same fashion that she loved this one whom she denied for the sake of her Lord. I believe that with all my heart. God sometimes makes that demand upon us.

Popular Requests

There is another enticement that the devil uses to keep us from obeying God's Word and I have labeled that enticement, Popular Requests . Prophetic Revelations, Personal Relationships, and Popular Requests. Many years ago, the favorite phrase was, “Everybody is doing it.” Then there was the phrase is, “It's the in thing.” This matter of doing what is done because of popular requests because everybody is doing it is an enticement that the devil uses. Go back to Deuteronomy, chapter 13, and notice the paragraph which begins with verse 12:

Deuteronomy 13:

12If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
13Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
14Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
15Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
16And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
17And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;
18When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.

What are we reading? If there is a city, a whole city, that goes off after idolatry, something must be done. Why? Because it will spread. It will become the popular thing to do and one city will say of another city, “That city is doing it. Let us do it, too.” We do that sort of thing in our everyday experiences. That is the reason we have Chambers of Commerce and Junior Chambers. We have nothing against them. It is a good thing that we have them. They develop the city, but what is one of their biggest arguments? We have got to have what this city has. I remember when they were organizing the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the biggest punch lines was, “We are the only city of one hundred thousand people that does not have a philharmonic orchestra.”

Don't misconstrue my remarks. I enjoy the philharmonic orchestra, but I would suggest to you that this business of wanting to be like other people is one of the devil's greatest enticements to disobey God's Word. I would suggest to you that you need to be on your guard against it.

I realize that I am treading on very thin ice here because some people will be prone to accuse me of legalism and of being legalistic because I say that believers must have convictions which are based upon God's Word and they must not deviate from those convictions, no matter who is deviating from them. They must stand firm on God's Word.

Oh, this business of popular requests, this desire which is innate in all of us to be approved, can be a detriment to our Christian growth, for oftentimes we will sacrifice the opportunities for growth in order to be popular. The desire to conform is so vital to so many of us. I am suggesting that you have courage enough to stand against the tide of popular request. Take your stand and say, “By God's grace, here I stand.”

You probably noticed that all of these things they dealt with rather harshly. They stoned them to death, these influencers of evil, only after careful investigation. One sure way of making sure it was not a false rumor was by insisting that the person who made the accusation be the one to cast the first stone. That caused folk to be careful. No, we don't stone folk to death today; we have no right to. This is the age of grace, not the age of law, but we do have an obligation. If we are sitting under the ministry of a man who is a false prophet, we have an obligation to follow the injunction of I John, chapter 4. If we are tied down, prevented from doing what God would have us do by family or close friends, then we have the obligation of remembering what is recorded in Matthew, chapter 10, that He came not to send peace, but to set men at variance. There may come a time when you have to say, even though it bleeds your heart to say it, “God has to come first, regardless of my family and my friends.”

Conclusion

If you are faced with a matter of popular request, it would be wise for you to keep in mind what the Apostle Paul said when he said, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable or spiritual service and be not conformed to this world.” Remember that. Be not conformed to this world. Be a protester for Christ.


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