Removing the Distractions from Worshiping God

Recently I opted to work on my writing at a local cafe.

I thought it would be okay since the cafe had Wi-Fi and many of the research resources I use are now available online.

Plus, several friends of mine who are writers love to work at cafes or shared work spaces.

But it was too distracting for me.

Hearing orders called out, seeing a father play with his son out in the courtyard, and some odd technical difficulties made my writing experience frustrating.

I now know for certain that my home office space is the best place to work on my writing.

This does not mean I never get distracted at home. I do.

But I have more control over my home office space than I do in a public space.

How does this relate to the need to remove distractions from worshiping God?

Removing the Distractions from Worshiping God | Deuteronomy 12:1-19

In Deuteronomy, the Israelites were about to enter the land God had promised long ago to their ancestors.

But before they cross over the Jordan, Moses instructs them to remove some specific distractions from worshiping God once they cross into the land.

You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. (Dt 12:2-3)

What types of places and items did the nations in the promised land use to serve their gods?

You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. (Dt 12:4–5)

Why were the Israelites instructed to destroy these places and things in favor of seeking the place the LORD planned to choose for them to worship at? (See Dt 4:32-40; 5:7-10 and 6:4-5)

There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. (Dt 12:5–7)

What is the significance of the location of the Tent of Meeting in the Israelite’s campsite? (See Num 2)

How is eating before the LORD part of removing distractions from worshiping the Lord?

“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. (Dt 12:8–9)

How do these two verses reinforce the instructions to remove distractions from their worship practice?

10 But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, 11 then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord. (Dt 12:10–11)

When will the Lord reveal the specific place his name will dwell in Israel?

How does this encourage staying focused on the Lord and avoiding distractions?

Removing the Distractions from Worshiping God | But Then Jesus Came

The Israelites were transitioning from being a nomadic people group to an established nation in a specific territory.

More importantly, their nation was to represent the God of all creation to the surrounding nations.

Therefore, a single location of focused worship was essential for them.

But then came Jesus.

Consider what Jesus says to the Samarian woman at the well.

“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:21–24)

How does Jesus describe proper worship of God?

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Ga 3:26–29)

As Christians, our unity is not by worshiping at one central location but through worshiping and confessing one Lord in Christ.

Removing the Distractions from Worshiping God | Personal Application

Describe a memorable worship experience in your life. What made it so special?

What distracts you from worshiping in spirit and truth?

Is there anything or activity you need to consider eliminating from your life to strengthen your worship of God?

14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Heb 13:14–16)


Barbara Lynn

PS. Ironically, but not surprisingly, even though I was at home when working on this post, I struggled with many distractions! Giggling…

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