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If you hear someone in one of your cities saying, “Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ ”—which you have not known— then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. (Deuteronomy 13:12-14)

So far, this chapter has been dedicated to alerting God’s people about what to aware of in terms of those who would coax them to turn away from Him and pursue false gods. Whether so-called prophets or your best friend, God warns us to be alert to the dangers of those who appear as good but who promote evil. In these verses, Moses introduced the possibility that an entire city could be a source of false doctrine, allowing and enabling corrupt men to spread their “gospel.” Underscoring the deceptive nature of it all is the Hebrew term translated “corrupt men,” b’nai belial, often used to describe those whose appearance is not completely wicked, although their actions are.

For instance, the sons of Eli the High Priest, Hophni and Pinchas, are called “sons of belial” (b’nai belial) (1 Samuel 2:12). Along with their father, they served in the Sanctuary and, consequently, wore priestly garments. Outwardly, they appeared as sons of Elohim but, in reality, they were sons of Belial. Paul used this term when admonishing believers not to be aligned with unbelievers.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Messiah with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

The point is that the “sons of Belial” don’t always appear to be evil – remember, they are in your midst. Very often, they are the ones we have known and, in some cases, grown to trust which makes the situation even more dangerous if they have turned to falsehood. So then, it behooves us all to not only know the truth but prepared to stand on the truth should it be challenged by friend or foe. Deception is just as determined as it is deadly and so we must be even more determined to stand against it. In that line of thought, I’d want to close with these very familiar words from Paul:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Blessings and Shalom,  




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