Introduction: The Ten Commandments start out with the statement that
we must have no other gods before our God. I’ve generally thought
that idol worship (which was a big thing in the Bible), was idiotic.
Why would anyone worship something that they made with their own
hands? If the practice is idiotic, why is God so concerned about the
practice? Why are fake gods addressed in His first commandment?
Are the gods of the past nothing, or impostors? If Satan wanted to
be like God, is it possible that fallen angels are the false gods of
the past? (See Revelation 14:11.) If some false gods are not a piece
of wood, but an intelligent being, would they try to keep us from
properly worshiping God? Would they try to steal our worship? If so,
this would explain why our God puts the issue up front. Let’s dive
into our Bible to see what it teaches us about true and false
- Burning Bush and Worship
- Read Exodus 3:1-3. God has Moses attention! Why would God
approach Moses in this way? (He wanted Moses thinking
this is something he should contemplate.)
- Read Exodus 3:4. Would you give the same answer? (Moses
is obviously stunned by the voice – of course he was
- Read Exodus 3:5-6. Let’s examine this a few moments to
see what we can learn about worship. Why does God tell
Moses to take off his shoes? (God is holy and that makes
the ground around Him holy.)
- Why must Moses keep his distance? (We can approach
on holy ground, but we cannot come too close to a
- What is the overall message about worship? (God
comes in the miraculous – a burning bush. He makes
ordinary places holy. We can only approach Him, we
should not get too close.)
- Read John 13:3-5. How do you explain going from a God in
whose presence you take off your shoes, to a God who
washes your feet?
- Golden Calf and Worship
- Read Exodus 32:1-4. Is it possible for us today to be so
stupid and so offensive to God?
- What in these verses gives the greatest offense to
God? (That God’s powerful works get attributed to
something made with human hands.)
- Do you ever attribute your success to your hard
work and skill rather than to the power of God?
- Read Exodus 32:17-20. Is this how we can recognize false
worship – singing, dancing, and loud music?
- Read Exodus 15:20-21. Is this how we can recognize true
worship – singing, dancing, and drums?
- Read 1 Chronicles 15:27-29. Is this how we can recognize
true worship by those who have the heart of God (1 Samuel
13:14) – shouting, loud music, percussion instruments,
stringed instruments, and dancing? ( 2 Samuel 6:14 adds
the additional detail that this was no restrained or
ceremonial dance. David “danced before the Lord with all
his might.” This is King David’s worship.)
- We need to carefully consider the epilogue to King
David’s exuberant worship dance. Read 2 Samuel 6:20-22.
What is the nature of the dispute about David’s worship
- What is the position of Michal, David’s royal wife?
(She complains that David is being “vulgar,”
immodest and undignified. He is acting like the
common servant. Note that this is before the ark,
the symbol of God’s presence.)
- What is David’s position? (That undignified worship
and celebration of God is appropriate. God chose
David and he will celebrate his God even if it seems
undignified and humiliating.)
- Well, friend, does this sound like the current
debate over worship? Have you heard that “dancing,
loud music, singing, shouting and general confusion”
is the mark of idolatrous worship?
- Let’s read God’s answer to this. Read 2 Samuel 6:23.
(Michal was barren after she attacked David for
- Have you ever been in a “barren” house of worship?
- Have you ever been in a worship service that is dry
as dust? Everyone has grey or white hair (like
me!), and no one seems to be celebrating, truly
celebrating, what God has done for them?
- Is the curse of Michal on your house of worship?
- People have very strong opinions on this subject. Our
opinions need to be based on the Bible – especially where
it is very clear. There is a common sense component to
this, however. Consider your children. Can they both
love and respect you?
- How do you want them to greet you? With their heads
down and their lips pursed? Or, with smiles of joy
and laughter, and obvious excitement?
- Satan has seen, and before he rebelled, even been a part
of the most glorious worship of God. If Satan wants to be
like God, if he wants to be worshiped, what kind of
worship would Satan inspire? (It would be logical that if
Satan wants to be worshiped like God, he would want to
inspire the kind of worship that is given to God. Unless
some aspect of pagan worship clearly violates God’s law,
this suggests that what happened with Aaron’s golden calf
might look rather like true worship (albeit with the
wrong object of worship).)
- Modern Gods and Worship
- Read Exodus 20:4-6. Do you know a single person who has
an idol in his back yard and who goes out to worship it?
(I’ve never seen that, not even once, in my entire life
in the United States.)
- Did one of Satan’s most successful temptations
become obsolete? Was it just a passing fad?
- What are the elements of idol worship? (An idol is
something that humans make. We “bow down” to it and
we worship it.)
- What does it mean to worship an idol? (We give
it our money, our time, our respect and we take
- When I was reading “American Gods,” (a book I do not
recommend) one modern god was the Television.
Television, to show her importance, said (this is
paraphrased from memory) “Families gather around me,
they sacrifice their time, they give me their
attention, and they obey my words.” Wow! That got
my attention. Has our idol worship moved from the
back yard to the family room?
- Revelation Worship
- Read Revelation 5:13-14 and Revelation 19:1-7. Is it your
highest desire to join in these words of praise and
adoration to God?
- Friend, if you want to be part of this group, why not
praise God with such intensity now? Why not shout and
roar ( Revelation 19:1) your praise to God? Why not
praise Him like you really mean it, and not like you are
getting ready for your Sabbath afternoon nap?
- Next week: The Sabbath and Worship.