The Retreat part 3

Exodus 33
is an interesting chapter. Moses sets up the Tabernacle tent far outside the camp. If anyone was seeking God, they went to the Tabernacle. God tells the people that He won’t go up among them because He just might consume them (literally to kill them) because they are a stiff-necked people. Proud. Foolish. Disobedient by making a gold calf to worship after God had specifically told them in Exodus 20 they were to have no other gods before Him. Many lost their lives over that escapade. This is an example of how not to act and the consequences of worshipping idols instead of the One True God.

Therefore, the people had to worship at a distance from God. In Exodus 33:10, when the people saw the cloud descend, all of them would "arise" and worship, each man in his tent door, when the cloud descended to the tent. Why not gather together and worship corporately? Why each man in his own tent door? We see why in the preceding chapter of Exodus 32. The people had made that golden calf to worship corporately, which deeply angered God and Moses. They could go individually to the Tabernacle to seek God and to sacrifice, but not corporately unless God called them all together.

There is more involved in worship than a bent neck or knee.

Deuteronomy 30:11-20
Worship involves the ear which is listening, along with the heart and service. This describes the will of man. It is a choice to hear. My daughter tells me all the time, “You are not listening to me.” I am listening to her. I’m looking right at her, hearing the words come from her lips but what I hear may not be what she means. We must be on the same wavelength in order to understand what we hear. That involves paying attention while we listen, not thinking about what we’re going to cook for supper while we listen. This also means the heart which is our understanding and willingness to serve.

Look at verse 14 -- “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it.” God gave them a choice. God’s relationship to mankind has changed since then because He sent His son. We are reconciled to Him now. But, how God deals with us remains the same from Adam to now all the way through the 1000 years of peace. God has given us a choice. His command is not far away. As He states in verse 12, “it isn’t in Heaven where we cannot get to it, nor in the sea, but right in our hearts.” The choice is given between “life and good” or “death and evil”, verse 15. This is one of several warnings to Israel not to be drawn away into serving the gods of foreign countries. Jesus said that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also Matthew 6:21 and in Matthew 12:35 He says that out of the good treasure of the heart comes good things and out of the evil treasure of the heart comes evil things. Our heart is most definitely required to be engaged when we worship.
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