- 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 12:8-14.
Verses 8-9. Since Israel was an unsettled people because of continual travels and warfare, many adopted an uncaring spirit toward the Tabernacle and its offerings. Perhaps they thought the wilderness was not “the real thing” since they were not at rest in their inheritance; therefore, right was judged by the individual, not by the single standard of God’s Law for His unique sanctuary.
This serves as a warning against denominationalism. There is a church for every preference, and no matter how crazy a professing Christian may be, there is still somewhere that he can feel comfortable. Youths have exciting churches. Old-timers have traditional churches. The embittered have soft churches. The introverts have video churches. The absurdity goes on. We have made God’s house accustomed to every need under the sun, and we are doing whatever is right in our own eyes. May God help us to return to the all-sufficiency of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was the gathering-center in the Old Testament, and it is our gathering-center in the New. There is one name, and there is one pattern. Therefore, there is one place where God’s people should meet. After all, it is His glory we are pursuing, not our own.
Verses 10-12. Israel’s climax of rest and religion was really only reached in the reign of Solomon and soon deteriorated after the splitting of the kingdoms. David provided rest, and Solomon provided the temple. With an established sanctuary, there were a few characteristics: (1) the whole land: anything within Israel’s border looked to the dwelling of God as its central location; (2) the whole Law: everything God commanded was to be followed in His house; (3) the whole person: all the person’s possessions and emotions were reckoned in light of the divine presence; (4) the whole nation: every tribe and class was included in the worship of the sanctuary.
This serves as a warning against individualism. The whole person was demanded, and every person was demanded. Whether slave, Levite, priest, father, mother, son, or daughter, each person was responsible for joy in God’s presence; and whatever they had to give, they were to consecrate it all to God and His sanctuary. Assemblies are not to be customized according to class distinctions or personality distinctions. God’s pattern does not change according to us; rather, we are poured out into its pre-defined mold. We all come as equals to the Lord’s table, and we find it meets our needs, not by being customized to our needs, but by addressing our true needs according to the prescription of the Divine Physician.
Verses 13-14. Along the way, Israel would see many pagan shrines and offering-places, but the Lord established only one place so they could entirely refuse idolatry wherever it was to be found. So, they were forbidden to think of an offering as a personalized thing that was equally valid in every location. The patriarchal priesthood no longer existed, and all worship flowed unto God’s house. Whether the alternative was intrinsically idolatrous or not, if it was not the house of God it was not a worship center.
This serves as a warning against pluralism and ecumenism. There are some who claim the name ‘Christian’ who claim that a true worship of God is represented in other world religions since the followers are sincere in their devotion. Others will not be this extreme yet still claim that all nominally Christian churches–Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox–should amalgamate so as to “preserve the unity of the Spirit.” Yet God has a pattern for true worship, and His Word is the standard. Christ qualified worship by both Spirit and truth. Where the Spirit of God cannot dwell and the truth of God cannot be upheld is where we are not authorized to worship. Evangelicals ought to adopt a better motto than “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, harmony; in all things, love.” Perhaps we should use Deuteronomy 12:13–“Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place you see.”