Not So High Places
There was a time in Israel’s history when they knew exactly what they should do if they wanted to make a sacrifice to God. They were clearly told: “Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you” (Deuteronomy 12:1314). This first central place for worship and sacrifices would be the tabernacle. Later they would take their offerings to the temple in Jerusalem. This kind of worship was different from what the Canaanites did, who worshiped in many places. They often would worship at “high places.” I suppose the idea is climbing a hill brings you closer to the gods. But the one true God says that is not what I have in mind: “Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:2).
We all know how difficult it is to reject the influence of the people around us. You can read about Israel worshiping at the high places throughout the Old Testament. Even after the temple was built many of the Israelites continued to worship on the hills and under spreading trees. But those whose hearts were fully committed to the Lord opposed every kind of false worship. “[Hezekiah] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles . . .” (2 Kings 18:3-4). This was a wonderful moment in the history of Israel. Finally, someone loves God enough to lead the people to worship in the way God said they should.
Here at the Lincoln Park Church of Christ we encourage you to worship God in the ways the Bible says you should. Worship Him with singing. Worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Worship Him by being devoted “to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Worship Him by refusing to prioritize other things over the church service. I know that’s not how everyone else does it. But those whose hearts are devoted the Lord God do, and they encourage others to do the same. Come worship God with us in a way that is pleasing to Him. Come encourage us to live according to the authority of God’s Word and we will do the same for you.