Deuteronomy 11-13: Household worship

Colloquialisms.  Fun, often regionally specific sayings, slangs and sentiments that are familiar and often heart-felt.  They are used in ordinary speech to describe a situation in a unique way.  They can be about anything and used at almost any time.  Here are some examples of pretty common colloquialisms used to describe a home:

Happy wife…happy life.
The home is where the heart is.
Home, sweet home.
There’s no place like home.
A house is made of walls and beams…a home is built of love and dreams.

Each of these describe a home in a unique way and express a sentiment that is important about a home.  We had such a saying on the wall of our house when I was growing up.  It said: “Christ is the head of this home.  The unseen host at every meal.  The unseen listener to every conversation.”  I don’t know if my parents know how much that little sign stood out to me, and stands out to me still.  It gave public and clear declaration as to the position Christ had in our home, and the position of my parents in relation to Jesus.  Jesus was always in front, my parents always behind.  Obviously we were unable to live that out perfectly all the time, and my parents had their rocky point in their faith; just as I have and just as most of you have (probably all of you if you’re honest).

As you read Deuteronomy today, you are going to read a section my Bible has titled “a chosen place of worship”.   Stay with me while I explain my thought.  This section of chapter 12 talks about all of Israel bringing their sacrifices to a central location to worship (with would eventually be Jerusalem).  The intent was to try to avoid any “rogue” elements within the Jewish faith, among other things.  What caught my attention in that section was this: “12 You will rejoice before the Lord your God—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levite who is within your gates…”  Worship was to be a household activity.  The parents, the sons, the daughters, every member of the household was to gather together to worship.

Maybe I’m talking out of pastoral naivety, but wouldn’t it be great if families actually did this?  I’m not talking about the standard sit around the kitchen table after supper slugging through a Bible passage while everyone thinks about the next thing on the agenda.  I’m talking about rejoicing before the Lord together.  It is a lost art, this.  I don’t know, maybe it’s always been a struggle for families to find that place of worship together.  But it must be possible.

Here’s one thing I will assert: parents, you set the tone for this sort of thing.  If you abandon yourself to worship, raising your hands, talking about how good God is in your life, offering up spontaneous prayers, gathering the family to pray together, if you do that, your children will follow suit.  My kids like to put on loud music and dance around the living room.  Why do they like to do that?  Because my wife likes to do that (I will only do it if the blinds are closed and the lights are off).  My kids know the words of many worship songs.  Why is that?  Because there is often worship music playing in the background at our house, and because they go to sleep listening to worship music at night (their choice, we didn’t force that on them).  Please understand, I’m not touting the spiritual superiority of our household.  I still haven’t figured out how to have family devo time in a meaningful way, and carving the time out for that activity is difficult.  We often find ourselves screaming at one another over the worship music, which is sort of comical when you’re not in the middle of the argument; and our kids know the words of “Roar” just as well as they know the words to Christ Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear” (thanks to a public school system that will play almost anything during gym time activities, age appropriate or not).

My point is simple: God desires us to worship at home, as a family.  That will only serve to fuel our worship when we gather together as the whole church on Sunday mornings (or whenever your church gathers to worship). And the only way we worship at home is when parents set the tone.  It is in God’s heart for us to do this.

Happy reading.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Deuteronomy 14-16

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