God commands us to worship only Him – to do otherwise would be to disobey Him and not worship Him at all. False worship will have repercussions. Deuteronomy 6:13-15 says “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.”
We may need to take drastic actions in order to ensure our worship is God-centered. God told the Israelites in Exodus 34:13-14 that rather than risk worshipping the false gods of the lands they conquered they were “to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim – for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Revival throughout the Bible was accompanied by removing the foreign gods or false idols from among the people and returning the sole focus to God. Probably the most dangerous groups of idols that pervade our culture are idols that cannot be seen such as money, wealth, influence, popularity, and power. We should frequently do a “heart check” to make sure that none of these false idols have taken over the place of worship in our lives. This is why the psalmist asked God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10-11)
One of the primary ways our focus of worship is expressed in a church service is in the songs we sing. One kind of music, which I have dubbed "testimonial songs", focuses on what God has done for us personally and how we respond or feel about it. I do not believe that churches should sing only praise songs that deal with our response to God and how we have changed. While there is a place for these songs in worship, they must be balanced with songs about God’s attributes and deeds. Testimonial songs have the danger of turning our focus from God to ourselves; they must be used in moderation. You cannot respond to something unless you have something to respond to. Worship is not for us, it is for God. God takes delight in a people who love to praise Him for who He is and what He has done.
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