1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.
It is interesting to note that “success” is no measure of truth. “Success” is not necessarily a sign of God’s approval, nor is it a sure indicator of God’s guidance or God’s will. The miraculous alone is not sufficient confirmation of God’s affirmation.
“If we respond to his invitation, we lay ourselves open to the working of his Spirit in the deepest places of our being, where the emotions are shaped and the impulses of the will take their rise. The changing experiences of life, pleasant and unpleasant, become in his hands the means of training us in his will. Through such experiences, directed by his care, we may grow to be his fellow workers, reconciled to life, to ourselves, and to God.” C. H. Dodd, 20th century British New Testament Scholar in his book The Benefits of His Passion.
“If we are not our own, but the Lord’s, it is plain what error we must flee, and to what purpose our deeds must be directed. We are not our own, therefore, neither our reason nor our will should guide us in our thoughts and actions. We are not our own, therefore, we should not seek what is expedient to the flesh. We are not our own, therefore, let us forget ourselves and our interests as far as possible. But we are God’s own; to him, therefore, let us live and die. We are God’s own; therefore, let his wisdom and will dominate all our actions. We are God’s own; therefore, let every part of our existence be directed toward him as our only legitimate goal.” John Calvin in The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life.
© 2010 Gary A. Chorpenning