A Place for His Name, A Practice Worthy of His Presence

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), March 15 

God longs to be among His people. He tells Moses of a day when He will choose a place among all the tribes of Israel to place His Name. He also warns Israel against redefining who He is and worshiping Him the way others worship their gods: “Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow the 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.’ 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” (Deuteronomy 12:30-31).

Syncretism is adding to or subtracting from God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture; it is redefining God and reinterpreting worship. Idolatry:

  • Diminishes God’s identity as He has revealed Himself in Scripture and then worships that diminished view.
  • Imagines God to be other than He has revealed Himself in Scripture and worships that image.
  • Cheapens God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture by creating an object to characterize Him and then worships that object.

The Lord therefore commands Israel to tear down all the Canaanite places of worship, to destroy their idols. He commands them to stone even members in their own families and leaders in their own towns who try to entice them to redefine God and reinterpret worship. They must even destroy entire towns in their midst if they are guilty of idolatry.

Israel must screen every prophecy and worship practice through God’s revelation of Himself—His Word. Scripture is iconoclastic as it shatters misrepresentations and false ideas about God. God is who He says He is, and worship is as He prescribes. Neither is open to interpretation or adaptation. God is holy, and His Name to be revered both in belief and in practice.

Further, God speaks of a future day when His Name will dwell in a specific place among His people, and they will offer sacrifices there, “But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD” (12:10-11). David’s desire to build a place for His Name originates from this promise.

Questions from today’s reading (Deuteronomy 10:1-12:32):

As Moses reviews God’s past dealings with Israel, what does he say that summarizes God’s heart toward His people?

What does Moses communicate about Bible literacy and God’s blessing upon His people?