Rejecting Deception: Deuteronomy 13:1-14

Deuteronomy 13:1‑14  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Deuteronomy 13:1-141If 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. 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. 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hath given thee to dwell there, saying, 13Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; 14Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently;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; (Deuteronomy 13:1‑14)
The people were warned that evil men would rise up, pretending to be prophets with special revelations. They were not to listen to them, since they were trying to turn the hearts of the people from the true God to false gods. Even when the signs and wonders actually took place, they were not to be deceived by them. While admitting they were real signs, they were to recognize that it was Satan’s power used to turn their hearts after false gods. The Lord told them He allowed these things to prove them, whether they would serve Him and cleave to Him.
One feels this has a warning for us. People go in crowds wherever there are visible signs, and often forget the test, ‘Is this to turn people to the true God revealed in Christ?’ If the deity of Christ and His finished work are denied, let us reject the whole thing. In Israel the false prophet was to be put to death, but in Christianity “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:44(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (2 Corinthians 10:4)). We are therefore to use “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:1717And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17)), and reject what is false. Let us never forget that Satan has power. God will soon allow him to display it very definitely — indeed we see some of it now. Men rejected God’s power revealed in Christ when He was here. The Lord Jesus said, “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:4343I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. (John 5:43)). Since men would not have the blessed Son of God, God must give them over to a delusion. Today “the gospel of Christ  ...  is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:1616For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)), and those who reject it are exposed to the delusions of the day. Let us test everything by the Word of God.
The Rejection of a Deceiver
Even if the deceiver was one of a man’s own family circle in Israel — brother, son or daughter, or his own wife, or perhaps a near friend — he was to be rejected. They were not to consent to him in any of his wickedness, or even listen. They were not to feel sorry for him (or her) or act differently because of the close relationship. He was to be stoned to death, the near relative being the first to lift his hand against him. How often family ties hinder loyalty to Christ! Because of a near relationship people will keep quiet about the most frightful utterances and deeds. If my own boy goes wrong, I ought to be the first to take a stand against him, and not try to hush it up. These are solemn facts, but they are the truth of God and one feels they should be spoken forth. Many a testimony has been weakened by lack of faithfulness in these matters. It may seem hard to do it (and it is!) but not half so hard as the government of God which falls upon unfaithfulness.
Then there are instructions about reports. We are warned elsewhere not to spread false reports, but here we are told that any uncertain matter of evil was to be fully investigated. Inquiry and diligent searching were to be made as to the facts, for there was to be no indifference about evil. It is not enough to say such things are none of our business, but we are to act for the glory of God.
Further Meditations
1. How were the Israelites to treat a deceiver?
2. Honesty is incredibly important in Scripture. What did the Lord Jesus call Satan? What does the book of Proverbs have to say on the subject?
3. You can find a good little article on Honesty in the Concise Bible Dictionary which can be read at