Ever notice that in the first five books of the Bible God instructed his people to build altars to sacrifice in very specific ways and places? And that He demanded very specific sacrifices be made? There is a reason.
This week we continued our journey deep into the 5th book of the Bible, Deuteronomy, where we learned that you will become what you worship.
God Gives the Israelites a Place to Worship
One of the most interesting facts that Pastor Miles shared with us this weekend was that when the Israelites built an altar to sacrifice to God, it was raised off the ground--off of the land that had been cursed, thanks to Adam and Eve. God wanted to separate his sacrifice from the earth.
Another fact about these altars is that they were made of unchissled rocks. This was God's way of ensuring that we don't try to create an image or do anything that would even resemble something that we could worship in His place.
In a past message, you will recall that the first rule of the Ten Commandments is that we shall not have any other god before Him (if you don't recall, you can read about it on this website or purchase the sermon at the Rock Pile bookstore).
Commandment two is that we shall have no carved images to represent our Lord, thus even the altars were to be unchissled.
God is a God of Detail
The Lord was also very specific of where these altars were to be located. In Deuteronomy 12:5, 12:11, and again in 12:12, the Lord specifically said that he will choose the places for these altars, not the Jews.
There were three reasons for God to choose these places:
- to avoid jealousy and division among the people for not having a place to worship
- to foster accountability and to avoid following the cults of the land
- to develop unity among the people, since the people were to worship together
There are two kinds of offerings; tithes and offerings. Tithes are 10 parts or 10% of what God has given you (also known as your income). This part of our giving is for the operation of our church. Offerings are for special projects or needs of the church that is above and beyond our tithe.
But we must remember that God wants a cheerful giver, He wants us to be happy when we give to Him and the church. Giving and tithing are important as God's mission can only be completed if God's family works together.