January 13, 2008

Worship Choices

Deuteronomy 12:1-7

"There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall ... rejoice."
Deuteronomy 12:7


Our newspaper has a column about the religious hab-its of local people. Readers learn about people's hobbies, reading interests, and where they like to worship. Pre-dictably that column identifies people from certain de-nominations or churches. But there are also some who choose "my house," "the woods," "my garden," or "some quiet place" as their place to worship.

The normal places of worship may not always be what we would like them to be. They may seem too noisy; they may be filled with people who aren't like us; or they may have a pastor who preaches sermons we don't like.

But real worship is not about us. God tells his people what makes worship acceptable. In Canaan, the locals were enthusiastic nature worshipers. But God said, "Only the place I choose will be your place of worship." Israel worshiped God at the tabernacle, and later at the temple in Jerusalem, where God was present.

God is present today wherever people meet in Jesus' name (Matthew 18:20). You can find them in any number of churches today. Some also gather on a Wed­nes­day evening or a Saturday night. In some of those places worship may not be what you would like it to be. But worship is about God, not us. All that really matters is that God is present among his people.

Help me to worship you truly, O Lord, among the people where you are present. May my worship be Christ-centered, focused on you alone. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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