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

  1. Burning Bush and Worship

    1. 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.)

    2. Read Exodus 3:4. Would you give the same answer? (Moses
      is obviously stunned by the voice – of course he was

    3. 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.)

      1. Why must Moses keep his distance? (We can approach
        on holy ground, but we cannot come too close to a
        perfect God.)

      2. 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.)

    4. 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?

      1. Has the nature of God changed?

      2. Has the nature of worship changed?

      3. Read Hebrews 4:14-16 and Romans 5:10. What do these
        texts suggest?

        1. Do they diminish the glory of God?

  2. Golden Calf and Worship

    1. Read Exodus 32:1-4. Is it possible for us today to be so
      stupid and so offensive to God?

      1. What in these verses gives the greatest offense to
        God? (That God’s powerful works get attributed to
        something made with human hands.)

        1. Do you ever attribute your success to your hard
          work and skill rather than to the power of God?

    2. Read Exodus 32:17-20. Is this how we can recognize false
      worship – singing, dancing, and loud music?

    3. Read Exodus 15:20-21. Is this how we can recognize true
      worship – singing, dancing, and drums?

    4. 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.)

    5. 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
      of God?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. 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?

    6. Let’s read God’s answer to this. Read 2 Samuel 6:23.
      (Michal was barren after she attacked David for
      undignified worship.)

      1. Have you ever been in a “barren” house of worship?

      2. 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?

      3. Is the curse of Michal on your house of worship?

    7. 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?

      1. 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?

    8. 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).)

  3. Modern Gods and Worship

    1. 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.)

      1. Did one of Satan’s most successful temptations
        become obsolete? Was it just a passing fad?

      2. What are the elements of idol worship? (An idol is
        something that humans make. We “bow down” to it and
        we worship it.)

        1. What does it mean to worship an idol? (We give
          it our money, our time, our respect and we take
          its advice.)

      3. 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?

  4. Revelation Worship

    1. 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?

    2. 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?

  5. Next week: The Sabbath and Worship.