Qualifications For a Place of Worship

Neil Marten, a member of the British Parliament, was once giving a group of his constituents a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. During the course of the visit, the group happened to meet Lord Hailsham, then lord chancellor, wearing all the regalia of his office. Hailsham … More


This first part of this chapter presents some elements concerning Israelite worship (vv. 1-14):

      1. The people are to worship the Lord in the place He chooses.

      2. The people are not to worship the gods of the Canaanites.

      3. The people were not to worship the Lord in the way the Canaanites worshiped their gods.

      4. The people’s burnt offerings and sacrifices were to be brought to where the Lord chose.

While sacrificial offerings were to be made in a specific place the butchering and eating of meat for regular sustenance could be done anywhere (vv. 15-28). The only restriction (except for unclean foods) was the prohibition on eating blood. This rule was stressed in verse 15 and repeated in verses 20 through 22, with some prohibitions in verses 17 through 19. The Old Testament sacrifices are fulfilled in Christ by the shedding of His blood on the cross as an atonement for sin (Acts 20:28). God wants a happy people to rejoice in all they do and not all the evil in the world (v. 18). Oneness with God produces peace and joy, not chaos and grumbling. 

The Israelites were to resist the influences of the Canaanite culture and were not to conform to Canaanite practices (vv. 29-32). This section on the place of worship ends with Moses’ warning neither to add to or subtracting from all that he had said (Prov. 30:6).


I need to make sure that I do not have any centers of false worship in my life. These could be attitudes, activities, possessions, relationships, places, or habits. It is anything that will tempt me to turn my heart from God. 

Deuteronomy 12:1-32 (English Standard Version)

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