What brings God to church?

There’s just something about natural, free-range, farm-raised chicken eggs that beat store-bought eggs every time. They look different, they cook different and they taste awesome! Free-range eggs have a richer, darker yolk than store-bought and they just taste like eggs the way God intended them to.

There are some things that are just better left in their natural, God-given state. This is especially true of our worship of God. The Lord illustrated this for His people when He gave them His Ten Commandments and gave the people His instructions for how He wanted altars to be built:

Exodus 20:25
(25) And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

The peoples that surrounded the Israelites in the Promised Land were idol worshippers. Altars of hewn stone depicting their man-made gods were commonplace. They were also distractions to the worship of the true God. As Paul said in Romans, idol worship “…changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and [four-footed] beasts, and creeping things” (Rom 1:23). The altars that the idol-worshippers built became monuments unto themselves, not places of worship to God.

God wanted the altars built by His people to be different from the world and He wanted them to be pure. The altar was not to be the focus. God was to be the focus. So, no tool was to be used to adorn the altar. God is best worshipped without embellishment.

Just as He did in the Old Testament, God expects the same kind of unembellished worship today. Churches might attract more crowds by becoming more appealing to man, but man is not the focus of the church. God is. Worship should be simple. It should be sincere. It should be God-focused even if that means it lacks the polish and panache that attracts the crowds. Those things are just distractions and monuments to themselves. What kind of worship brings God to church?

Isaiah 66:1-2
(1)  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
(2)  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

When God inspired Isaiah to write these words, His people had become so focused on the place of worship that they forgot the God of worship. So, the Lord boiled it down for them: “There is no place, no altar that you can build for Me that is going to impress. Everything you use will be made of things I have already made. What I demand is humble hearts.”

There’s no mention here of a state-of-the-art building, or flashy suits, nice cars, a fully equipped gym or a Starbucks®. That’s not to say that a church cannot be a nice-looking place. A church can be so run down and unkempt that it can be a distraction, too. But real worship is between God and an assembly of humble believers around the unembellished truth of God’s Word – and nothing else. That’s the kind of worship that brings God to church, and isn’t that really the reason we go to church, to meet with God?

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Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

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