What Difference Does it Make?
Title: What Difference Does it Make?
Reading for April 17: 1 Kings 12-14
He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar to make offerings.
1 Kings 12:33
It appears that the worship at Bethel Jeroboam planned was to mimic and rival the worship in Jerusalem. The location of Jeroboam’s worship was not all that different. Bethel was only about 10 miles away from Jerusalem. The time of worship was not all that different. The Feast of Booths was on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Jeroboam’s feast was just a month later on the fifteenth day of the eighth month.
He made these changes in spite of plain warnings in the Law. Consider this warning from the book of Deuteronomy:
“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes… But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit… 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. Deut 12:8-11
Jeroboam did precisely what God had warned the people not to do. He was doing whatever was right in his own eyes. He built a calf idol for the people to worship. He devised a day and chose a place “from his own heart.” What made him think this kind of worship would be acceptable to God?
Yet that’s the kind of thing we hear today. When you insist on biblical authority for worship… when you point to New Testament patterns for worship… when you question worship practices that run contrary to clear commands in Scripture… you are met with a shrug of the shoulders and the question, “What difference does it make?”
If it matters enough to God to reveal patterns for worship for us, then we should care enough to make an earnest investigation of what he has revealed for us and follow those patterns as best as we can.
Father, give us the humility and the love for you to worship you as you have instructed.