Tuesday after the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 12:13-32 (NKJV)
13 “Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; 14 but in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
15 “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike. 16 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth like water. 17 You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand. 18 But you must eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all to which you put your hands. 19 Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.
20 “When the LORD your God enlarges your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘Let me eat meat,’ because you long to eat meat, you may eat as much meat as your heart desires. 21 If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the LORD has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. 22 Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them. 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat. 24 You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water. 25 You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the sight of the LORD. 26 Only the holy things which you have, and your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the LORD chooses. 27 And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the meat and the blood, on the altar of the LORD your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, and you shall eat the meat. 28 Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
29 “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
The Lord God demands to be worshiped in a specific way and at a specific place. We see after the division of the two kingdoms into North and South that a “sin” is committed by the first king of the Northern Kingdom, Jeroboam. What is his sin? He established places to go and sacrifice to God that were not in Jerusalem, where God chose to establish His Name and be worshiped. Now, the question could be posed, “What does it matter as long as God is being worshiped?”
The answer to that question is given by the Lord, “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods.” The point is that when people’s worship is left to their own heart’s desire they end up doing what is hateful to the Lord, for just as our hearts are corrupted with sin, our worship becomes corrupt.
This is shown by the Israelites, who forsook the true worship of the Lord and continued the abominations of the surrounding nations. The same is true of those who corrupt the liturgy. When the pure Word of God in the liturgy is watered down or changed, what God wishes to impart through His Word in the liturgy is replaced with what man wishes to convey. And since the promises of man are as fleeting as he is, his worship crumbles into sensationalism and emotionalism.
But, true worship of God is as eternal and unchanging as He is. His worship imparts the Holy Ghost through the means of grace employed in the liturgy, and He creates faith in His promises through His true and unchanging Word.