4/2 Deuteronomy 13:5

5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Israel had a death sentence for those who tried to turn people to worship other gods. That sounds harsh to us today, but remember what God was uniquely doing with that nation. God had miraculously delivered them and revealed His will for their laws and worship practices. The nations they were displacing were doing despicable things as acts of worship. To have God's direct intervention in their nation and then to return to the vile things that God hates, things that cause disease and death, should be severely punished. This was not a case of converting someone from one benevolent religion to another, but of defying God to indulge in destructive wickedness. That may help us understand the harsh judgment.

Today we would never implement such a harsh sentence, at least in the Christian-influenced parts of the world. The truth that we can take from God's command to that nation is His passion to keep us in the ways of truth. Today, the temptation is not so much to be converted to a pagan faith as it is to be seduced by the religion of secularism, to fit in with the world. Society mocks our faith and is constantly trying to convert us from a life of faith. They usually don't realize the evil they are perpetrating, and, in fact, they often think they are offering us truth.

The evil we need to purge from our midst today is the evil in our own heart that is attracted to the invitation of the world to indulge in lust. That is the evil we must deal with severely. We see it in the Gospels when Jesus suggested we amputate any part of our bodies that draws us into sin. It is better to enter life handicapped, Jesus said, than to enter hell whole (Matthew 5:29).

Consider: A loving God so desperately wants the best for you that He is harsh toward the evil that would lead you astray. He sees the damage it would cause. Do you?