God will put people and situations in your path to test you and your trust in Him. We saw this in the life Abraham, and now the Lord is explaining a way He tests the Israelites – “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
We have all heard the saying “be careful of the company you keep.” As Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” We see today how serious the Lord is concerning the company we keep – “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers… you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” God is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 6:15) and does not want His people to be lured into idolatry because He knows it will lead to their destruction.
The Lord tells His people that there will always be people who are poor living in the land. Therefore, He instructs them to give to the poor – “You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”
Then Moses restates instructions regarding diet, tithing, the Sabbatical Year, and the three annual feasts; Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles, which we read about earlier in Exodus and Leviticus.
The Israelites loan to one another with the understanding that in the seventh year the debts will be released and slaves will be set free as instructed by the Lord. Moses says “the Lord will greatly bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance— only if you carefully obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today. For the Lord your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.” However, while citing the curses that will come with disobedience, Moses is going to say that if the Israelites disobey the Lord, they will be scattered among all people – “And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul” (Deuteronomy 28:65).
We will see the Lord’s people scattered amongst the nations later in the story because of their disobedience. But next up in tomorrow’s reading, the Lord provides the Israelites with guidelines for a king. God knows that the day is coming when the Israelites are going to reject Him and ask for a king to rule over them like the people around them. Therefore, the Lord is preparing the Israelites for that day because God always provides what we need before we even know we have a need. However, there is more to happen in this story before we get to the Kingdom Era, so keep reading. (Deuteronomy 13:1-16:17)