"...and thou shalt stone them..." Deuteronomy 13:10 ASV
In this directive, God is defining the punishment to those who make concerted efforts to lead God's people away from Him. We, today, are horrified of the thought of such as we witness the beheading of Christians by ISIS militants and hear of the persecution of Christians around the world. The issue at hand was the worship of other God's... an issue Christians in America may do well to reflect upon. Sunday's used to belong to God's people who gathered to study God's Word and give Him honor and glory through whole hearts united in worship. Does it hold true today? According to the recent movie, "Concussion", Sundays are now 'owned' by the NFL. Others have noted Friday nights are dominated by high school football and nightclubs, while Saturday nights are 'owned' by college football and shopping malls... signs of the times in an entertainment driven society.
What alternatives are possible for Christians today to embrace the semantic of the directive? The first way to demonstrate one's devotion to God and His ways is to take up one's cross and follow Him. (Read Matthew 16:24) By recognizing how we deify our own selves and dying to our own fleshly lusts, we embrace God's design of the creature worshipping The Creator. (Read Romans 1:18-25) Taking up one's cross is a statement which declares one's willingness to give one's own life in service of our Lord. As I stated earlier, that very thing is happening in certain parts of the world today. Taking up one's cross also shows to the world that we are a people of peace and sacrifice, not willful destruction. At first blush, it may seem to be contrary to the weight of today's five understandable words. However, the Christ follower takes on the likeness of The Savior when personal sacrifice is required, thereby fulfilling the punishment required for those who despise God's way. So, what are we to do, willingly die at the hands of those who so savagely accommodate such an action? In Romans 8:36, the apostle Paul is saying just that: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, 'For Your sake we face death all day long, we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more thatn conquerors through Him Who loved us." (Romans 8:35-37)
The second alternative we have toward those who seek to lead us away from our followship of His way is by impressing those hearts with the Word and love of God found in Christ. We are then hurling stones of love and compassion... thereby heaping hot stones upon their heads. (Read Romans 12:1-21, giving special attention at verses 19-21)
The third alternative followers of Christ can employ in fulfilling the essence of the Old Testament directive is by our vote. When leaders of a nation make such bold statements which challenge core precepts of our faith, they can be voted out or kept from entering the public legislative community. Christians must not shrink back from exercising their right to vote, and that vote should be very seriously considered and paired with one's values. The dichotomy which exists in today's political environment is too obvious to miss. The Goliath we face today is of a post-modern liberalism which threatens the very foundations of our country. I write about this in my book, "Freedom's Foundation", providing forty biblical precepts to freedom the Founders were intimately familiar with, and which aided in their development of our founding documents. This Goliath is too big to miss... Christians must aim and fire with the power of their vote.
The efforts we make today will embolden our children to stand and preserve the fundamental right to the practice of religion in America for their generation. In so doing we are "pleasing Him" (v.18). We become those who will not throw the first stone in a punitive way, to show the integrity of Christ's way. (Read John 8:1-7)
Sticks and stones...
Steve (John 3:30)