Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 5, 2020

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” – “Listen to the word of the LORD”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 10:14-22.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.  I speak as to wise men;  you judge what I say.  Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?  Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?  Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body;  for we all partake of the one bread.  Look at the nation Israel;  are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?  What do I mean then?  That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God;  and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons;  you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.  Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?  We are not stronger than He, are we?”  1 Corinthians 10:14-22.


Consider what the Heidelberg Catechism states about idolatry in part.

Q. 95.  What is idolatry?

A.  Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God who has manifested Himself in His Word, to contrive or have any other object in which men place their trust.

Q. 96.  What doth God require in the second commandment?

A.  That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded in His Word.

Q. 97.  Are images then not at all to be made?

A.  God neither can nor may be represented by any means.  But as to creatures, though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make or have any resemblance of them either in order to worship them or to serve God by them.

Q. 98.  But may not images be tolerated in the churches as books to the laity?

A.  No;  for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have His people taught, not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of His Word.

In the briefest nutshell, our images or thoughts of God should be formed only by and through God’s Word:  “by the lively preaching of His Word.”, not by man’s desires, thoughts, pictures, or art. 

Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel,
For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is no faithfulness or kindness
Or knowledge of God in the land.
2 There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery.
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
And everyone who lives in it languishes
Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky,
And also the fish of the sea disappear.

4 Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
5 So you will stumble by day,
And the prophet also will stumble with you by night;
And I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”  Hosea 4:1-6.

The Regulative Principle of Worship is important for us to consider, because it is based on the foregoing Question and Answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 96.  What doth God require in the second commandment?

A.  That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded in His Word.

The short format of this daily devotion can only get us started to consider it.

Consider the following article “SHALL WE PLEASE GOD OR (CERTAIN KINDS OF) PEOPLE? OR THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE OF WORSHIP” written by David Engelsma in the Standard Bearer Issue: 14, 4/15/2000 , Vol 76/2000.  Here is a link to the article followed by three quotes from this article –

“One of the most powerful winds blowing through the Reformed and Presbyterian churches today is the hurricane of “liturgical renewal,” or “progressive worship.” The service of public worship as the Reformed have conducted it for hundreds of years is summarily scrapped as “traditional” (“traditional” being uttered with scorn or with sorrow, as though describing a service that was either foolish or useless). The traditional service is replaced with a service of bands and singing troops; banners; films, skits, and drama; dialogues; dancing; and shallow, man-centered, Arminian, but lively “gospel songs.”

Or the two kinds of services are placed back-to-back on a Sunday morning. The traditional service is at 9 a.m., the progressive service is at 11. Every member can indulge his preference.

The assumption of those who spend their waking hours planning the demolition of the traditional Reformed worship and concocting new and more appealing activities of worship is that the church is free to shape the worship of God as she thinks best. And what is best is whatever pleases the worshiping people.

Against the incoming tide stands the regulative principle: God’s wishes decide the worship. Our wishes have as little to do with the “how” of worship as they do with whom we worship. How the church worships is not a matter of our preference. It is a matter of God’s command.

No one who fears God will say that the whole matter is unimportant. The right worship of Himself by His chosen people is God’s ultimate purpose in creating and redeeming them. “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (Isaiah 43:21).

Such is the importance of the right worship of God by the church that God has devoted the entire first table of the law to it. The first commandment prescribes whom we must worship. The third prescribes wherein we must worship Him. The fourth prescribes when we must worship Him.

And the second?

The second prescribes how we are to worship God.

God thinks that the important question about the manner of the worship of His people is, “What pleases Him?”

So do we.”

But, there is hope!

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.  You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers;  so you will be My people, and I will be your God.”  Ezekiel 36:25-28.


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