- Righteousness Before Relationships (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
- Morning Meditation: Listen to Words not Wonders (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
- Morning Meditation: Inquiring After Their Gods (Deuteronomy 12:28-32)
- Morning Meditation: Obedience is Always an Option (Deuteronomy 12:20-27)
- Morning Meditation: How to Enjoy God’s Blessings (Deuteronomy 12:15-19)
- Morning Meditation: One Pattern, One Name, One Place (Deuteronomy 12:8-14)
- Morning Meditation: Shrine or Sanctuary? (Deuteronomy 12:1-7)
- Morning Meditation: A Blessing and a Curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-32)
- Morning Meditation: A People of the Book (Deuteronomy 11:18-25)
- Morning Meditation: The Primacy of Obedience (Deuteronomy 11:13-17)
- Morning Meditation: Characteristics of the Land (Deuteronomy 11:8-12)
- Morning Meditation: A Heritage of Obedience (Deuteronomy 11:1-7)
Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 12:28-32.
Verse 28. Here the Lord sums up the impact of His previous words: (1) all of them were to be followed, (2) obeying them brought multi-generational blessing, (3) obeying them pleased God. It is the ideal result of God’s Word that man be blessed and God be pleased. So then, closing the topic of the sanctuary, He enters into the topic of idolatry.
Verses 29-30. It seems strange that Israel would want to follow the thing they tried to destroy and, in a truer sense, what God destroyed on their behalf. Yet this was their tendency with Egypt, and so we believe their tendency here. It makes sense, in a distorted way of thinking, to desire what one destroys. After all, Israel was commanded to destroy the idols without even thinking of the pleasure they could bring. So, the human heart within may have thought, “Perhaps God is withholding some form of pleasure from me,” and these thoughts would terrorize them as they wondered if there could have been something to these false gods.
Of course, this all starts very subtly. They did not pursue the gods themselves; rather, they inquired about the way the gods were worshipped so they could imitate that practice with Yahweh. Paganism usually creeps into the Christian community in two stages. First, we appreciate its method and justify our embrace of it by saying, “Well, we are still serving the one true God; we are just doing it in a slightly different way.” Then, once the method has been thoroughly ingrained, the subtle shift happens, and the world’s message is embraced as well. We must understand: the pattern of worship and the object of worship always go hand-in-hand.
Verse 31. Here the Lord clarifies that the immediate threat was an attempt to amalgamate true worship with pagan means. It was not enough that Israel was “toward the Lord”; their obedience was incomplete until their pattern of behaviour aligned with His words. This should not have been difficult since the pagans were saturated with abomination, especially of child sacrifice. So base was their worship. This just shows all the more that the kind of God a person worships will define the kind of worship the person brings. Because there is an infinite divide between the true God and false gods, there will always be an inherent difference between our worship and the pattern of other religions. Why should we feel pressured to conform if the world is nothing like us? Those who join paganism and worship are not doing so intelligently or Scripturally; rather, they manifest the place their hearts have been all along and are only pursuing their hearts. This is the only possibility, for God’s words never lead us to worldly conformity.
Verse 32. How, then, was Israel to worship? And how would they ever survive amidst so many religious possibilities? The answer was quite simple: do all of what God says and only what God says. Whatever God required for their obedience, His Word was sufficient for that cause. God always gives people enough revelation so they may respond to Him positively. We need not worry that there is something more we need. His Word is sufficient for every good work. Therefore, why would we add to it? His Word is authoritative for every sphere of life. Why would we take from it? Revival only happens when God’s people return to the simplicity of Scripture, and this has been the case through history. “All of Scripture and only Scripture” is the battle cry of those who serve God in Spirit and truth. May we not look for God to work through worldly methods and especially not a worldly message. Let us only expect from Him what He has promised, that our blessing and His pleasure only flow from careful obedience to the entirety of His words.