Reading Life

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 13:1-5

You must not heed the words of those prophets . . . for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. (v. 3)

Beliefs interpret experience; experience cannot interpret itself. Consider the variety of responses to Jesus’ miracles. Those who believed that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy recognized from the works he did that he was the Messiah. The Pharisees, believing that Jesus was inspired by Satan, interpreted his miracles as more evidence that he was filled with the power of the devil. And his family, having known him from infancy, figured he was crazy.

This varied reaction to Jesus reminds us that the beliefs we bring to our experience matter more than the experience itself. So Moses warns Israel not to be misled by false prophets even if their prophecies come true. So long as the prophets are encouraging wrong belief, Israel could know that they spoke from Satan rather than God.

It is wonderful to have experiences of God, to intimately walk with him and know that he is working in our lives. But even more important are the truths about God that interpret these encounters. We learn these truths from Scripture, and they remain true regardless of what we experience.


Father, may what I hear in your Word interpret what I see in your world.