Praise and Worship in Deuteronomy
Praise in Deuteronomy
HIS grace in choosing us as his people (7:7-8);
HIS commands, which we can teach to our children to help them grow (11:18-21);
The mighty ways in which he delivers his people from oppression (26:7-8);
The blessings that come from following his commands (7:12-15; 30:1-10);
HIS word, which is not too difficult to understand or perform (30:11-14); and
Dedicated leaders who guide the community of faith (34:5-9).
Worship in Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy, Moses’ final address to the people of Israel, is a book almost solely about worship. By studying what God required of the Israelites’ worship, we can learn much about what God desires from our worship today. The book itself represents several facets of worship. First, Deuteronomy employs preaching and teaching, calling us, the listeners, to be faithful to our partnership with God. We are to worship the Lord alone (6:4-5), a theme that Jesus stressed in his own teaching as well.
But this sermon of Moses contains more than just law (what the people must do in obedience); it also offers us grace (what the Lord, out of his love, has done to set his people free). “It was simply because the LORD loves you, and because he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the LORD rescued you with such amazing power from your slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt” (7:8). Christian preaching, in the same way, presents both what God expects of us and what he has done for us through Jesus Christ.
Our worship of the Lord, whatever our tradition, should offer us the opportunity to make a similar pledge of commitment to God. As in Deuteronomy, however, our motivation for worship should be in response to God’s love for us (1 John 4:19). This is not a sentimental feeling but a covenant love, a relationship of mutual commitment.
The Word of God is a powerful weapon against evil. The apostle Paul called it “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus knew how to use that weapon, and as a result, he triumphed over the Devil’s temptations. Jesus’ final quotation, which ended the struggle with Satan, was a directive about worship: “You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him” (Matthew 4:10; Deuteronomy 6:13).
We are to teach our children God’s truths and ways, instructing them by lifestyle as much as by precept (4:9; 6:20; 11:19).
Worship involves more than just remembering God’s past deeds; through worship we reexperience God’s salvation for us today (5:3-4).
Our places of worship should be constructed solely for God and his purposes (12:4-7).
We must not neglect supporting those who lead us in worship (18:1-8).
Traditional prayers and creeds can help us worship by reminding us of our responsibilities and recalling the history of God’s dealings with us (26:1-15).
God’s Word is always present with us to accomplish his purpose; it is “very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it” (30:14).