Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Words of Encouragement

Signs are every where to help us navigate where we are going. We are thankful for the signs around us. We should be just as grateful to God's signs (His Word), which tell us how we should walk in this way of a Christian.

Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; - Deuteronomy 12:3-5

Worship is...Done God's way. The children of Israel were about to go in and take possession of the land that God had promised them over the Jordan. The Lord gives them the requirements he has for them to worship him. He tells them do not do as you are currently doing, just as you want to do.

Instead he tells them when you go into the new land what I want you to do is worship my way. Go in to the new place and remove all that the former occupants have set up. Remove their altars, their sacred stones, and their idols.

God says not only remove them but wipe their very names out of this place. In other words, do not leave any trace of them every being here before. He does not want to be worshipped in the way that these people worshipped their gods. They have had many gods and many rituals. God wants to set the standard and he wants it followed.

He tells them you will seek a place where I want to dwell among the people and to place my alter of worship there. In the end of this chapter God tells them not to worship in the detestable ways of the other nations and he also tells them to keep his commands and do not add to them or take away from it.

If you do not receive anything else from this chapter in the scripture, you have to see that God takes how we worship him very seriously. He does not want us simply doing what we want contrary to his will.

The question then is how do we know what God wants? The best way to find out what God wants from us as people is to ask him. As simple as that sounds, we often side step this guideline and we try to do things in our own understanding and our own way. The reason the people were given such details in what to do was because God did not want them blending different things into the worship of him because he will not share his glory with anything else.

A sure way to miss the presence of God is to try and blend in things that are contrary to God. This is also true for us and our temples. God gives us instructions because he wants all the former things removed from our lives. He wants all these things removed because we cannot dwell in his promised land alongside the former occupants of our lives. You know those former occupants; sin, anger, lust, envy and the like. All those old things we "worshipped" have to be put out of the place where God wants to dwell, or he will not dwell in that place.

Worship then is us loving God enough to obey his commands and not changing one thing he gives us to do. We don't add to it because we think we can do better and we don't take away from it because we think it won't work. We simply trust in what God calls us to do, and we do it.

I pray for us this day that we would come to worship God simply as he ask us to do.