The Law of the Altar
Exodus 20:22-26
And the LORD said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.…

I. THE OBJECT Or WORSHIP. The true God, not gods of silver, or gods of gold (ver. 23). The God who had talked with them from heaven had appeared in no visible form. "Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice" (Deuteronomy 4:12). Let the sole object of our worship be the invisible, spiritual, infinite, yet revealed God. God's revelations of himself lay the basis of right worship. God has spoken. How reverently should we hear!

II. THE PLACE Or WORSHIP. "In all places where I record my name" (ver. 24). God records his name by making a revelation of himself, as at Bethel, Peniel, etc. Whatever places he chose for the building of his altar, till the time came for the erection of a permanent sanctuary, there would he meet with them. Religion is now set free from places (John 4:23). Wherever two or three are met in Christ's name, there will he be in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).

III. THE ALTAR OF WORSHIP. To be built of unhewn stone - i.e., of natural materials (ver. 25). It was the altar of propitiation. Man is viewed as one whose sins are yet unexpiated. His art, in that state, would have polluted the altar. Art came in afterwards (ch. 25. etc.). Nothing of man's own avails for propitiation.

IV. THE MATERIALS OF WORSHIP. Animal sacrifices (ver. 24). For purposes of atonement - as symbols of personal consecration (burnt offerings) - as pledges of peace and renewed fellowship (peace offerings). Not in the first, but in the other meanings of sacrifice, we are still summoned to bring them in our worship - "spiritual sacrifices" of self-surrender (Romans 12:1), of the broken spirit (Psalm 51:17), of praise and thanksgiving (1 Peter 1:5).

V. THE MANNER WORSHIP (ver. 26). Reverence and decency. - J.O.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

WEB: Yahweh said to Moses, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

Public Worship
Top of Page
Top of Page