Pastoral Commentary for Deuteronomy 12
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
God commanded Israel to destroy all the pagan places of worship that were in the Promised Land. Not only were they to destroy the idols of their pagan neighbors, but they were not to worship the LORD in their manner. Instead, there was to be one central place of worship for all Israel where they were to offer the prayers and sacrifices that God commanded. This place of worship was to be a place of rejoicing in all the LORD had done for them. In the Gospel freedom of the New Testament we are able to worship in different ways and places, but our worship is always and only directed at the One True Triune God, as we rejoice in His grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. God promised Israel rest in the Promised Land from all their enemies. Jesus is our true Rest, thus in Him we have freedom to worship God on Sunday (the day of His resurrection), rather than observing the Old Testament Sabbath. God's command concerning a central place of worship for tithes, offerings and sacrifices also showed His concern for the Levites, who had no inheritance of land and were dependent on the gifts of God's people. The solemn warning against idolatry is repeated at the end of this chapter, but sadly, it would still prove to be Israel's downfall. We must keep ourselves pure from greed and idolatry if we would continue to live under God's hand of blessing. God's Word is sufficient. We must not add to it, either by multiplying commands that God has not given, or subtract from it, by justifying sin and conforming to the world.