God Will Choose (Deuteronomy 12:4-5)

You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God. But you shall seek [the LORD] at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.

Deuteronomy 12:4-5

I suspect that this is the verse that folks who assert that we must meet in a church building would cite. Trouble with that reasoning is that we would all be making trips to Jerusalem to worship, if it were the case. Good for Jerusalem’s economy. Bad for all those folks who think they’ve stumbled on to the verse that gets them out of attending a small group or home study because it’s not the place God chose.

What this verse, as far as I can see, is saying is that there is a right and a wrong place to worship God. The right place to worship God is wherever He tells you it’s right to worship Him. The wrong place is wherever He has not told you to worship. In the context of the chapter and Moses’ discourse in whole, that understanding holds up. So, where does God tell me to worship Him or pray to Him or praise Him?

The Bible is chock full of places where I can praise, pray, and worship (which includes both of the foregoing and more). A read through the psalms reveals that the psalmists believed we should praise God at any time and any place. In bed? Praise God. At work? Praise God. Breathing? Praise God. What about prayer? Jesus said that I should pray (and do my good deeds like giving to the poor) in secret and my Father, Who sees what is done in secret, will openly reward me. I don’t think Jesus means I can never pray in public, only that my deepest and most intimate moments with God — like my deepest and most intimate moments with my wife — do not belong on a street corner. My wife and I talk wherever and whenever the need arises, so, too, should I talk with God (pray). However, when it comes time to bare my soul and empty the contents of my heart onto the floor, then my relationship with God is best served by me being in a quiet, secret place. About worship…? Well, Israel was told to worship in the temple — that’s where the sacrifices and festivals and all that took place. Paul’s writing to the Corinthians says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and Jesus (more important than Paul, by FAR) says that those who worship the Father must worship in spirit and in truth. My spirit also lives within me, so it stands to reason that Paul is agreeing with Jesus when he says that we are the temple; the place where God should be worshiped.

So, where should I worship God and pray to Him and praise Him? Here. Wherever I am is where God wants me to praise Him and pray to Him and worship Him. My most intimate moments with Him should be in private — He is not an exhibitionist — but my relationship with Him should be as public as the fact that I am married.

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