A Call To Worship

Bible Book: Exodus  34 : 10-14
Subject: Worship, Call to; Worship
Series: Worship

In a sermon on the subject of worship, Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church in Kingsport, TN, said…

In many churches our time of worship begins with a “Call to Worship.” The substance of what occurs during that time varies. Sometimes the choir will sing, occasionally there will be a special praise song presented, but most of the time, the congregation stands and sings of the wonders and love of God.


In the text before us this morning, there is a “Call To Worship.” It doesn’t begin with a song or a prayer or a responsive reading, but it begins with Moses in the very presence of Almighty God.

Who God is, and what God is, and what God does, and all the fullness of the Godhead demands a response. We cannot nor should we sit back without responding in some way. We could just as easily say “The Command To Worship”, but there is a call here as well.

The book of Exodus can be fairly easily divided into two parts…

Part 1 – The Redemption Phase in chapters 1 thru 18

Part 2 – The Revelation Phase in chapters 19 thru 40

And in this second section…

God Revealed His Law For Their World in chapters 19 thru 24

God Revealed His Layout For Their Worship (The Tabernacle) in chapters 25 thru 40

As God gave instruction about the worship of the people and the Tabernacle in chapters 25 thru 40, we have…

The Conceptual Stage When The Tabernacle Was Designed in chapters 25 thru 31

The Complication Stage When The Tabernacle Was Delayed in chapters 32 and 33

The Completion Stage When The Tabernacle Was Done in chapters 34 thru 40

Again, this process was delayed because of the idolatry of the people in chapters 32 and 33. Harold Willmington summarized the events of these two chapters by saying…

Concluding that Moses would never come down from the mountain, the people had asked Aaron for another god to lead them. Aaron fashioned a golden calf, and the Israelites worshiped it. “After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and indulged themselves in pagan revelry” (32:6). Because they worshiped the golden calf, God was ready to destroy the whole nation and start over with just Moses. Moses begged God to forgive the people, so that other nations would not accuse him of injustice and so that the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would not be broken. God promised not to destroy them.

After a lapse such as we see in chapter 32, Moses and the people needed a renewed manifestation of God. Beginning in chapter 33 with Moses’ personal encounter with God and continuing through the last seven chapters of Exodus, we find such a renewed manifestation of God and His plan for the worship of the people and the Tabernacle.

Moses went up to mount Sinai in chapter 34, verse 4…

(Exodus 34:1-4) And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. {2} And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. {3} And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. {4} And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.

And according to chapter 34, verse 28, he was there with the Lord for 40 days and nights…

(Exodus 34:28) And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

During this 40 day period, God taught Moses some things about worship. God showed Moses some things about Himself that demanded a response, some things that should call us all to worship.

I. The Confirmations Of The Lord Calls Us To Worship

(Exodus 34:10-11) And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. {11} Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

A. He Confirmed To Moses That He Would Exhibit His Wondrous Power

1. His Works Are Incomparable

I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says that the word “marvels” indicates things that are wonderful.

Both the verb and substantive refer to the acts of God, designating either cosmic wonders or historical achievements on behalf of Israel. … The root refers to things that are unusual, beyond human capabilities. As such, it awakens astonishment in man.

2. His Works Are Impressive

all the people among which thou art shall see the work (His actions, His business) of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee

terrible – Hebrew 3372. yare', yaw-ray'; a prim. root; to fear; mor. to revere; caus. to frighten:--affright, be (make) afraid, dread (-ful), (put in) fear (-ful, -fully, -ing). (be had in) reverence (-end), X see, terrible (act, -ness, thing).

B. He Confirmed To Moses That He Would Evict The Warring Population

drive out – Hebrew 1644. garash, gaw-rash'; a prim. root; to drive out from a possession; espec. to expatriate or divorce:--cast up (out), divorced (woman), drive away (forth, out), expel, X surely put away, trouble, thrust out.

1. Consider The People That Are Removed

the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says that God driving out these people involves…

The absolute right of God, as the Creator and Proprietor of the earth, to make a free gift of any portion of it; … His justice in employing the Israelites as the instruments of His providence in exterminating the occupiers of Canaan, who were a race of incorrigible and hopeless sinners; … His faithfulness in fulfilling His promise made to the patriarchal ancestors of Israel, by settling them in the land of promise,

2. Consider The Purpose For Their Removal

Matthew Henry said…

God, as King of nations, plucks up some, to plant others, as it pleases Him; as King of saints, He made room for the vine He brought out of Egypt, Psalms 80:8,9. Kingdoms are sacrificed to Israel’s interests, Isaiah 43:3,4.

(Psalms 80:8-9) Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. {9} Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

Similarly, God cleansed sin in our hearts so that He might make room for His own purposes.

II. The Cautions Of The Lord Call Us To Worship

(Exodus 34:12-13) Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: {13} But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

A. God Said To Beware The Inhabitants

take heed – Hebrew 8104. shamar, shaw-mar'; a prim. root; prop. to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc.:--beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).

1. A Relationship With Them Can Become A Treaty

covenant – Hebrew 1285. beriyth, ber-eeth'; from H1262 (in the sense of cutting [like H1254]); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh):--confederacy, [con-]feder[-ate], covenant, league.

2. A Relationship With Them Can Become A Trap

snare – Hebrew 4170. mowqesh, mo-kashe'; or moqesh, mo-kashe'; from H3369; a noose (for catching animals) (lit. or fig.); by impl. a hook (for the nose):--be ensnared, gin, (is) snare (-d), trap.

B. God Said To Break The Images

(Exodus 34:13) But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament said…

The Israelites, when received into the covenant with Jehovah, were not only to beware of forming any covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan, but were to destroy all the signs of their idolatrous worship, such as altars, monuments, and asherim, the idols of Astarte, the Canaanitish goddess of nature, which consisted for the most part of wooden pillars.

1. We See The Types (Forms) Of False Worship

altars – Hebrew 4196. mizbeach, miz-bay'-akh; from H2076 (to slaughter an animal in sacrifice); an altar:--altar.

images – Hebrew 4676. matstsebah, mats-tsay-baw'; fem. (causat.) part. of H5324; something stationed, i.e. a column or (memorial stone); by anal. an idol:--garrison, (standing) image, pillar.

groves – Hebrew 842. 'asherah, ash-ay-raw'; or 'asheyrah, ash-ay-raw'; from H833; happy; Asherah (or Astarte) a Phoenician goddess; also an image of the same:--grove. Comp. H6253.

At the “altars” the heart was captivated. At the “images” the mind was captivated. At the “groves” the body was captivated.

2. We See The Termination (Finality) Of False Worship

The IVP Bible Background Commentary says…

In this section, which reiterates the importance of obedience to the commandments, special attention is given to the destruction of all forms of pagan worship, especially cult objects and idols. This may be another response to the golden calf incident (32:19-35). It is clear that the inhabitants of the Promised Land will have other gods and other ways of worshiping them. The Israelites are warned not to be enticed into alliance with these people or into worshiping their gods. Thus they are not to leave any sign of foreign worship intact. Carrying out this command would be evidence of great faith, for the destruction of sacred objects was considered a grave offense to a deity and was believed to result in the severest of punishments. The obedience of the Israelites would be tangible expression of their confidence that God could protect them from reprisals.

destroy – Hebrew 5422. nathats, naw-thats'; a prim. root; to tear down:--beat down, break down (out), cast down, destroy, overthrow, pull down, throw down.

break – Hebrew 7665. shabar, shaw-bar'; a prim. root; to burst (lit. or fig.):--break (down, off, in pieces, up), broken ([-hearted]), bring to the birth, crush, destroy, hurt, quench, X quite, tear, view

cut down – Hebrew 3772. karath, kaw-rath'; a prim. root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by impl. to destroy or consume; spec. to covenant (i.e. make an alliance or bargain, orig. by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces):--be chewed, be con- [feder-] ate, covenant, cut (down, off), destroy, fail, feller, be freed, hew (down), make a league ([covenant]), X lose, perish, X utterly, X want.

III. The Character Of The Lord Calls Us To Worship

(Exodus 34:14) For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

A. His Character Is Shown In The Name “Jehovah” (LORD)

1. This Name Suggests That He Exists In An Unchanging Way

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says of this name “Jehovah”…

A clue to the real import of this name appears to be designedly furnished in the passage where it is most distinctively ascribed to the God of the Hebrews, Exodus 3:14: “And God said to Moses, I shall be what I shall be; and He said, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, The I SHALL BE has sent me to you” (“I am”). Here the Almighty makes known His unchangeable character, implied in His eternal self-existence, as the ground of confidence for the oppressed Israelites to trust in His promises of deliverance and care respecting them. … ‎The word will thus signify the Existent.

(Exodus 3:14) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

2. This Name Suggests That He Is Eternal In An Unending Way

LORD – Hebrew 3068. Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:--Jehovah, the Lord.

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia further says…

As Christ is called “The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty;” and also, of him it is said, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever; he must be Jehovah, the eternally existing and supreme God

B. His Character Is Shown In The Name “Jealous”

(Exodus 34:14) For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Spurgeon said…

The passion of jealousy in man is usually exercised in an evil manner, but it is not in itself necessarily sinful. A man may be zealously cautious of his honor, and suspiciously vigilant over another, without deserving blame. All thoughtful persons will agree that there is such a thing as virtuous jealousy. Self-love is, no doubt, the usual foundation of human jealousy, and it may be that Shenstone is right in his definition of it as “the apprehension of superiority,” the fear lest another should by any means supplant us.

1. His Name Is Jealous

the LORD whose name is Jealous

jealous – Hebrew OT:7067 ‎ qanna'; jealous. This word is used only in reference to God. It has the idea of demanding exclusive service (Exodus 34:14). (From Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon)

Jealousy is called “the rage of a man” in Proverbs 6:34; but in God it is holy and just displeasure. Those cannot worship God right, who do not worship him only. There must be absolute separation from all that would rob God of His place in their hearts. Everything that would displace this blessed God must be demolished, shattered, and hewn down (verse 13). I know nothing more touching than what we get here, “the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” How it expresses the love of God for His people! It is as much as to say, I love my people so intensely that I cannot bear to be deprived of their affections and their worship.

2. His Nature Is Jealous

the LORD … is a jealous God

Just notice some of the other mentions of His jealousy…

(Exodus 20:5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

(Deuteronomy 4:24) For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

(Deuteronomy 5:9) Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

(Deuteronomy 6:15) (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

(Joshua 24:19) And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

(Nahum 1:2) God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

(Zechariah 1:14) So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

(Zechariah 8:2) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.

Conclusion: The song “The Heart of Worship” written by Matt Redman dates back to the late 1990s, born from a period of apathy within Matt’s home church in Watford, England. Despite the country’s overall contribution to the current worship revival, Redman’s congregation was struggling to find meaning in its musical outpouring at the time.

“There was a dynamic missing, so the pastor did a pretty brave thing,” he recalls. “He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.” Reminding his church family to be producers in worship, not just consumers, the pastor, Mike Pilavachi, asked, “When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?” Matt says the question initially led to some embarrassing silence, but eventually people broke into acappella songs and heartfelt prayers, encountering God in a fresh way.

“Before long, we reintroduced the musicians and sound system, as we’d gained a new perspective that worship is all about Jesus, and He commands a response in the depths of our souls no matter what the circumstance and setting. ‘The Heart of Worship’ simply describes what occurred.” Redman remembers writing the song quickly in his bedroom soon after the church’s journey together, with no grand intentions, by any means, for it to become an international anthem. He viewed the words simply as his personal, subjective response to what he was learning about worship.

When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come / Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless your heart… / I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, Jesus


Paul Lee Tan said…

In the materials for the tabernacle, almost all of them were secured through pressure. The metals had to go through fire; the dyes, doubtless, were secured through pressure; the fine linen had to go through many a trying process from the flax stage; the goats had to be prepared to surrender their ornament—hair; the rams and badgers must die; the wood had to be felled and shaped; the oil and spices were secured through pressure and the precious stones, too, were the result of great heat. Is there an element in the system in which God will dwell and be displayed that has not been secured through pressure? I doubt it.

(Encyclopedia Of 15,000 Illustrations, # 13664)