David had a direct question for us at the start of his sermon on Sunday:
HAVE WE ANY IDOLS OR OTHER GODS IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW?
His question flowed from the 10 Commandments in Deuteronomy 5 and led directly into the topic for today – worship. We don’t have to go far in our lives to find potential idols: identity, money, job, physical appearance, entertainment, comfort and technology were mentioned. This list is not exclusive and was left ringing in our ears as we read Deuteronomy 12:1-14.
David had three points: exclusive worship matters, joyful worship matters and communal worship matters.
Exclusive worship matters
There is only one God and so worship of any other god is ridiculous. The people were instructed on entering the Promised Land to destroy all aspects of idol worship that they saw. This showed that there was only one God and removed any temptation God’s people may have encountered to worship another god. We live now with religious freedom and yet we declare into that context that there is only one God and our exclusive worship reflects that. As Paul said:
Joyful worship matters
The word ‘rejoice’ had been highlighted by the service leader. This may not be the word that comes to mind when we think of Deuteronomy but three times we see it in chapter 12. David pointed out the joy of worship that is evident. Worship of the one true God was to be joyful and would bring joy.
Communal worship matters
Also, from Deuteronomy 12 David highlighted how worship is communal. We see families worshipping together, including servants and Levites. There was also direction as to where they should gather to worship. As we live after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are not held to a certain place to worship but this does not negate the need to gather and worship regularly together as God’s people.
Our worship must be exclusive, should be joyful and is communal.
What is our worship like?
- Are there idols that direct our worship away from the one true God? Have these crept in over time? Do we need to spend time getting rid of distractions and temptations and return to exclusive worship?
- Do we approach worship with joy? If not, why not? How can we remove legalism from our worship?
- Are we committed to communal worship? Do we realise the importance of coming to a certain place where others gather at the same time to worship?
Let’s approach these instructions to worship in Deuteronomy 12 and spend some time auditing our own attitude.