"Snippets" from David
An Interesting Commentary on Worship
Deuteronomy 12:1-14 provides an interesting
insight into worship. Israel was given instructions by God through Moses for
building a tabernacle in Exodus 25-27. The priesthood to serve in the tabernacle
was declared in Exodus 28, 29. Some of the procedures to be followed were given
in Exodus 30. The craftsmen in charge of producing the tabernacle were announced
in Exodus 31. The construction of the tabernacle was discussed in Exodus 35-39.
The tabernacle was erected and placed into service in Exodus 40:34-38. This
portable structure with it furnishings and priesthood was to be a spiritual
guide for them throughout their journeys in the wilderness. At least portions of
it (1 Samuel 4:1-11) were significant in Israelite worship until Solomon built
the temple. In that temple many of the furnishings [including the ark of
covenant] played a prominent role in Israel's worship.
Interestingly, Deuteronomy 12:1-14 makes no mention of the tabernacle, or its altar of incense, or its tables for the bread of presence, or its lamps and lampstand, or even the ark of the covenant. It focuses entirely on the "where" of worship in Canaan. In the worship instructions concerning Canaan are these:
1. God will select the place where He is to be sought (verse 5).
2. The place God designates will be the only site of national worship in the matter of sacrificial worship, reception of tithes, gifts to God, and redemptive acts (verses 6, 7).
3. Be sensitive to God's selection (verses 11, 12).
4. Do not choose the sites of idol worship to worship God--honor only His selection (verses 13, 14)!
Should one conclude that God did not care how Israel worshipped Him? No! Should one conclude that if the place is correct that nothing else matters to God? No! Centuries later Jesus said the time was coming when the place a person worshipped would be insignificant (John 4:21).
Then what should a person conclude? Two suggestions are given about what a person should conclude concerning the core [heart] of worship. (1) Worship must be about respecting God. (2) Worship must be about declaring a separation from devotion to God to a mere devotion to being religious. Those who worship God declare He deserves greatness! He only is the One Who is superior to personal existence! He is not to be confused with other things people worship!
It is fascinating that the emphasis was not on worship implements, procedures, and worship directors previously stressed. The ultimate source of worship of the God Who created must spring from (1) a recognition of God's deservedness and (2) from the understanding that praising God in worship is distinct from the mere attempt to be religious. Without those two realizations, the procedures of worship and the who leads worship is insignificant. It is too easy to make worship about us and not about God.
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