“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace, or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you, nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether they’re near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him. Nor shall your eye pity him. Nor shall you spare him. Nor shall you conceal him.”
Wow. What a warning here in Deuteronomy chapter 13. God speaking about the power of close friendships, of family relationships to either spur you and me on toward God in serving and worshiping God and loving God, or to pull us away from serving, loving, worshiping God. And this is part of God’s design for close friendships. Think about places like Hebrews chapter 10, verses 24 and 25, where we see that picture of gathering together closely with other brothers and sisters in Christ to spur one another on toward love and good works, to encourage one another in faith. Proverbs saying, “As iron sharpens iron.” So one person sharpens another. God has designed our closest relationships to draw us closer to him. But the warning here in Deuteronomy chapter 13 is it’s possible for these closest relationships, people who are as close as your own soul, it’s possible for those people to entice you in a way that pulls you away from intimacy with God, in a way that leads you to serve other gods, which just shouts then guard your closest relationships.
God, we pray that our lives would spur the people who are closest to us on toward you.
There are so many different ways Deuteronomy chapter 13 leads us to pray. Let’s just think of as we pray all the different ways that based on this word from God, to his people in Deuteronomy 13, we might pray today. God, we pray first and foremost for our own lives. As sons and daughters, as brothers and sisters, as wives or husbands, as friends, God, we pray you would help us never to entice those we’re closest to or anybody else, but especially those we’re closest to in these ways. God, we pray that our lives would spur the people who are closest to us on toward you. That we would be an encouragement to them in their faith, that they would love you more as a result of being around us. God, we pray that today. God, we pray that the people in our homes would love you more as a result of being around us today, that the people we interact with, especially, those who we’re closest to, God, that the fruit of our relationship with them would be them drawing closer to you.
And God, we pray in light of this warning that you would keep us from being enticed by people who are close to us, to wander from you, to serve other gods. We pray that you would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, especially when it comes to the relationships that are closest to us. And God, we pray for people around us. And I pray for my kids. I pray for my wife. We pray for those who are closest to us. God, we pray that you would give them good friendships. We pray that you would provide friendships for them, where they are being drawn closer to you as a result of those friendships.
God, we pray that you would guard our friends and family members from any and every attempt of the adversary to pull them away from you through the influence of others. Even as we pray for that in our own lives, God, guard us today. And each day we pray from any attempt of the adversary to pull us away from you through the influence of people who may be as close to us as our own souls. Oh God, we pray for friendships, family relationships that are flourishing in ways that we and our friends and family members are worshiping, loving, and serving you all the more as a result of being in the same family together, as a result of being friends with one another. God, may it be so. We pray, Deuteronomy chapter 13, verses six through eight in Jesus name, amen.