Deuteronomy 13: 1-11, focusing on vs 5.
"That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you."
Sam: No one loves to throw up. The taste, the smell, the sight, the sounds, the feel - in every way, throwing up is an unappealing process to go through. But at the end of throwing up, I usually feel better.
Throwing up is an apt metaphor for the process of purging. Purging is necessary when something poisonous or foreign has gotten into the community. Purging is the forcible and even violent removal of that poisonous or foreign element for the sake of preserving the health and saving the life of the community. Purging evil requires a difficult and terrible process. The people of Israel are not supposed to enjoy purging - that would be grotesque - but they have to be willing to go through the process. The process involves confrontation, putting through a trial, and condemning to death, anything that leads us away from the true God.
Abe: This passages causes me to wonder what are some temptations in my life that I have to put to death? What are the things that compete with my love for God, and are foreign, and even poisonous to my life as a worshiper?
I recently studied Donatism in Church History - and that controversy started because church leaders were unable to stay true to their convictions in the face of oppression. I'm reminded today that without the willingness to fight for purity against temptation now, I will not be healthy enough to resist persecution later.