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Worshipping Outside Of God's Will  


God told Jacob to return home toCanaan after being away for 20 years.  Jacob was specifically told to move to Bethel.  He did return to Canaan, but not to Bethel.      


Genesis 32 and 33 tells the story of Jacob's return home.  His brother Esau invited him and his family to live with him and his family.  Jacob agreed.  However, when Esau headed home, expecting Jacob to follow, Jacob headed the opposite direction to Shechem.    


Once Jacob settled in Shechem he built an altar to the Lord and called it "El Elohem Israel", meaning, "God, the God of Israel". (Genesis 33:20)  His building project may sound like the godly thing to do, but I think it was a bit presumptuous.  God wanted Jacob to worship in Bethel , but he worshipped elsewhere, in a place of his own choosing.  So Jacob worshipped God, but he worshipped Him while living in disobedience, outside of His will. 


Israel has followed in Jacob's footsteps, seldom worshipping where God wanted, and how He wanted.  The more I study the Bible, the more I see that the church is no different than Israel.  Like Jacob, we have our building projects.  We worship the Lord in a place of our own choosing, and in a way of our own choosing.     


The general tendency for Israel was to drift from God into humanism and idol worship.  Generation after generation grew up believing the religion they inherited was what God wanted, but that wasn't always the case.  They were so far removed from God that they didn't even know they were removed from Him, thus failing to know what He wanted.      


I think much of the western church today is in the same situation.  We think we're in the center of God's will when in fact a lot of the church is so far removed from God we don't even know we are removed from Him, thus we don't know what He wants either.      


As in Old Testament days, the prophets must rise up and call us back to Biblical Christianity.  Our wandering into a humanistic approach to faith, worship, and church, must end.  We must repent, and find our way back to the Bible, rediscover what Jesus wants for us, and leave our humanistic ways behind.            

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