The important theme from Deuteronomy 12 onwards is the place the LORD has chosen to dwell there. That is for Israel a building, the temple, and a city, Jerusalem. For the church this is not a building or a group, but it is the spiritual foundation upon which believers who form the church meet and to which the Lord Jesus connects His presence by coming into their midst.
An important characteristic is that what is not God’s must first be removed. Then you can search. When they have found that place, the danger will arise again that idolatry wants to penetrate again. That is stated in the last verses of Deuteronomy 12. There should be no question about the gods of the nations (Deu 12:29-3229“When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land,30beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’31You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.32“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.).
How many times has God warned of idolatry in this book! Idolatry is an essential attack on God and the relationship He has with His people. Any warning about it increases the responsibility of the people. Idolatry is anything that the Lord Jesus and His authority, His Word, sets aside or other things put along that are given a higher place. How many times has God warned us of certain sins that the Lord Jesus sets aside?
Deuteronomy 13 connects directly to the last verses of the previous chapter. In this chapter we read about three forms of idolatry:
1. In verses 1-51“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,2and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’3you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.4You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.5But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. it is about a case of open deception. This can happen when someone with signs and wonders subtracts the people of the LORD behind him to serve other gods.
2. In verses 6-116“If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known,7of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end),8you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him.9But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.10So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.11Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you. it does not go through open preaching, with signs and wonders, but it is a hidden deception through natural bonds, family members. This is a very refined form.
3. In verses 12-1812“If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God is giving you to live in, [anyone] saying [that]13some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known),14then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true [and] the matter established that this abomination has been done among you,15you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword.16Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt.17Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers,18if you will listen to the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God. there is talk of a collective deception. We see how a whole city is drawn away by corrupt people from behind the LORD.