2011-03-20 - The Tenth
The Ten Commandments ~ Part 71
Tenth Commandment ~ Part 13
Pre-Tabernacle Instructions on Worshipping God
God leaves no man in the position, assuming that he is willing to be honest
with God and himself, without a way of knowing who God is and what is His
will. He makes it clear to Israel that He Himself spoke to them out of Heaven.
He is the living God of Israel, and therefore they are not to worship other
gods, along with Him. Remember, having just come out of Egypt, they are used
to a culture that is polytheistic - and because of this, idol worship could
be a problem for them. In fact, in Exodus 32, we see the people fall into
idol worship while Moses is still up the mountain with God. God will not
share the spotlight with anyone or anything. For us, as we have see,n
we cannot allow anything to take first place in our lives ahead of the Lord,
or we too will be guilty of idolatry.
Instead of worshiping other gods, the Lord gives some pre-tabernacle instructions
in the construction of the construction of an altar, and the need for sacrifice
to Him. They are to offer sacrifices and peace offerings. The altar speaks
of the cross and the shed blood of Christ. Anyway, as they traveled, they
were to make an altar of the Earth and to perform sacrifice. Later with the
Tabernacle, they would have a much more elaborate system.
Dr. McGee takes the position that the offerings here do not include a sin
offering, that the sin offering was given at a latter time. Andrew Murphy
in his Commentary on the Book of Exodus, says
"Burnt-offering, which implies on the part of the offerer the confession
of guilt and of the need of an atonement. ...peace-offering... is that species
of offering which was designed to express the thanksgiving of the offerer
for peace with God or any of its attendant benefits. (pg. 242)
The people were allowed to make an altar of stone, but it was to be unworked.
This was to prevent artisans turning it into something that could become
a source of idolatry. In addition, there were to be no stairs up to the altar,
so that the priests would not be revealed under their robes. This again was
to prevent the potential for the kind of abuse that occurred in pagan practice,
i.e. sexual immorality.
They were to worship God in simplicity, nothing occurring that could take
the focus away from the Lord. This can be a problem today with some churches
that create structures that can be distractive, in themselves, from the practice
of worship. This doesn't mean a church can't be beautiful, but its beauty
must draw attention to the Lord, not away from Him.
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?
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