Gaudy Ungodly Worship (Exodus 20:22–26)

Who you worship determines how you worship. God spoke, therefore, they shall not make an idol of silver (Exodus 20:22, 23). Capiche? Deuteronomy teases out the logic a bit more.

“Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth (Deuteronomy 4:15–18 ESV).”

Because they saw no form, but only heard a voice, they are not to make an image. Our God is a talking God, therefore our worship is a listening worship. The worship of God’s people is to be centered in God’s word. Who you worship determines how you worship.

Allah is a monad. Our God is triune. Allah cannot be love. He can be power, but he cannot, in his essence, be love. This impacts how Muslims worship. When you worship Molech, you sacrifice babies. When you believe in evolution, you abort them. How is an outworking of who. If the how is ugly, the who is ugly. When the Who is beautiful, the how will be beautiful.

There is an elegant simplicity to Christian Worship. We gather to preach the word, read the word, hear the word, sing the word, pray the word, and see the word (in the sacraments). When the visual begins to dominate our worship, idols of silver and gold are being crafted. When man’s production dominates and draws, when we want less holiness and more Hollywood, then like Ahaz we’ve brought a Damascus altar into a Jerusalem Temple. We didn’t choose the altar simply because of its practical superiority; it was aesthetically appealing because of our idolatry. Desiring to be like the cool Canaanites we loose what makes us distinctly Christian. Man’s fog and lights replace the revelation of the God of flashes and smoke. We work our altars of stone, chiseling the names and images of our gods on them—ourselves. Our work, not the Word of His work receives the limelight.

How you worship reveals who it is you’re really worshipping. Does your worship speak of a God who spoke from the fire (Deuteronomy 4:11–12)? Does it tell of a God whose word is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16)? Does it demonstrate that you really believe faith comes by hearing the word (Romans 10:17)? Does it testify to the God who causes dry bones to live by His word (Ezekiel 37:1–14)? Does indicate trust that the new birth comes by the word (1 Peter 1:23)? Does it display that the sanctifying of the church happens by His word (John 17:17)? Does it evidence the sufficiency of the word to make us complete (2 Timothy 3:16)?

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