Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
I. Aligning With God's Moral Order: The Ten Commandments
1. The First Five Commandments: Loving God With All Of One's Being
b. Commandment Two: Holding To The True Worship Of God
(Exodus 20:4-6 et al.)
  1. Introduction
    1. Some Christians hold only to "Traditional" worship where others prefer the "Contemporary" form with a wide variety of instruments, musical styles (rock, blues,), literary genre and expressive behavior.
    2. Of great import to us, then, is the second commandment God gave to Israel revealing His moral order, for that command handles the important issue of the right and the wrong kinds of worship (as follows):
  2. Commandment Two: Holding To The True Worship Of God, Exodus 20:4-6 et al.
    1. By way of review, we recall that we Christians are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law's Ten Commandments, for we are dead to that law in our position in Christ, Romans 7:4a with 3:23.
    2. Conversely, the Law is intrinsically holy, just and good (Romans 7:12), and so Christians will live up to the righteous standards of the Law when they are filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit, Romans 8:3-4! In that frame of reference, we view the Ten Commandments to observe the standard of righteousness we should (and will) reach in our thought and actions (as Spirit-controlled believers).
    3. Accordingly, we view Commandment Two: Holding To The True Worship Of God, Exodus 20:4-6 et al.:
      1. Israel was not to make an object with the likeness of God or any god so as to worship it, Ex. 20:4-5a.
      2. This command coincided with the uniqueness of Israel's worship in comparison to the pagan nations:
        1. The pagan nations had images of their deities in their temples, images that were either considered to be indwelt by a god or that comprised the god itself, Zond. Pict. Ency. of the Bible, v. Three, p. 242.
        2. In great contrast, in the Holiest of Holies of the tabernacle and later temple in which dwelt the presence of God, He met with man as a SPIRIT in the SPACE above the mercy seat and between the cherubim, Exodus 25:22; in contrast to paganism, Israel's worship was to be spiritual of a SPIRIT Who was God, not material as in idolatry, Bible Knowledge Com., Old Testament, p. 139.
      3. Jesus Himself later both verified and expanded on this subject of true worship in John 4:20-24:
        1. Speaking with the Samaritan woman, Jesus heard her claim that her fathers taught she was to worship in the location of Mount Gerizim where the Jews taught they were to worship in the location of Jerusalem, John 4:20; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to John 4:20.
        2. In reality, she held to idolatrous syncretism: (1) the Samaritans long before mixed the worship of God with pagan idols, cf. 2 Kings 17:27-28, 41. (2) Thus, as 2 Kings 17:41 relates, Jesus replied to the Samaritan woman that she did not know what she worshipped, John 4:22a. She had a false idea of God, that He was uniquely associated with a given material location as in idolatry!
        3. Indeed, Jesus noted those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth, for God is a SPIRIT Who is TRUE versus the pagan gods that were linked with the material, 4:21, 23-24.
      4. For this reason, God continued in the Second Command at Exodus 20:5c-6 to assert He was a jealous God, that He could not tolerate people replacing Himself with any object or material location, for He was the TRUE God Who is an OMNIPRESENT SPIRIT!
      5. In the New Testament, idolatry "was extended to mean obsession with anything to the degree that it took the place of devotion to God" (Ibid., Z.P.E.B.; 1 John 5:21), so true worship in the Church was to be expressed with a focus on God as the unseen spirit rather than on ANYTHING ELSE!
Lesson: True worship to God is to be a focus on His PERSON as a SPIRIT versus on TANGIBLES of the CREATED WORLD or on ANYTHING ELSE about us, Romans 1:18-23 versus John 4:21, 23-24.

Application: (1) May we worship God with the FOCUS on HIMSELF as a SPIRIT rather than on the TRAPPINGS of His CREATION or on ANYTHING ELSE; otherwise, we offend God in shifting our devotion from HIM to SOMETHING ELSE around us as OFTEN occurs in "contemporary" worship! (2) May our worship thus be filled with God's TRUTH in Scripture in obedience to Colossians 3:16.