“In all places where I record my Name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.” (Exodus 20:24b) In this lesson we want to emphasize two points:
- the importance of God’ s Name
- the necessity of serving Him where He records His Name
Read Deuteronomy 12:5-14 and 14:23-26 to see how important it is to serve God where He puts His Name.
“5 But unto the place which Jehovah your God shall choose out of all your tribes, to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come; 6 and thither ye shall bring your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and the heave-offering of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill-offerings, and the firstlings of your herd and of your flock: 7 and there ye shall eat before Jehovah your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein Jehovah thy God hath blessed thee. 8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes; 9 for ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee. 10 But when ye go over the Jordan, and dwell in the land which Jehovah your God causeth you to inherit, and he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 then it shall come to pass that to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you: your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave-offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto Jehovah. 12 And ye shall rejoice before Jehovah your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and the Levite that is within your gates, forasmuch as he hath no portion nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt-offerings in every place that thou seest; 14 but in the place which Jehovah shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt-offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee…”
“23 And thou shalt eat before Jehovah thy God, in the place which he shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, the tithe of thy grain, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herd and of thy flock; that thou mayest learn to fear Jehovah thy God always. 24. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it, because the place is too far from thee, which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to set his name there, when Jehovah thy God shall bless thee 25 then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thy hand, and shalt go unto the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose: 26 and thou shalt bestow the money for whatsoever thy soul desireth, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul asketh of thee; and thou shalt eat there before Jehovah thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.
God first recorded His Name in the tabernacle (Leviticus 17:1-9), then in the city of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:36), then in the temple (1 Kings. 9:1-3). If they were to receive His blessings, they must offer His sacrifices where He recorded His Name. Man cannot substitute his own plan. Jeroboam tried it. He told his people that it was too far for them to go to Jerusalem to offer the sacrifices and thus built altars at Bethel and Dan and told them they could bring their offerings to either place and that there God would bless them. (1 Kings 12:26-27) “This thing became sin.” (1 Kings 12:30).
Now, God’s Name is recorded in the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor.1:2). David was told that when he slept with his fathers, his seed after him would build an house for God’s Name (2 Sam. 7:12-13). That was a prophesy that Christ would build His church. This He did (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:29-30). Here his people must serve Him and here He will bless His people. The church was planned by God (Ephesians 3:10-11), purchased with Christ’s blood (Acts 20:28), and revealed by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13). In this saved relationship, God has authorized both individual action - man acting under his own oversight and with his own resources, and local church action - saved people acting together under a common oversight and with pooled resources. God has recorded His Name in the local church for His assigned work and worship under a common oversight and with pooled resources (1 Cor.1:2; Acts 2:28). The local church is sufficient to do all that is thus assigned. But like Jeroboam, people today are not pleased with God’s choice and build them altars at Bethel and Dan and promise their followers that they can there serve God and receive His blessings. This thing becomes sin. Every denomination is an example of the altar at Bethel and every man made collective that brethren have made to solicit and receive contributions to do the work God assigned the local church, whether a school Bible department or a foundation are examples of the alter at Dan. And it surely looks to me like this has become sin.
All one will have to do to prove me wrong is to find the passage that speaks of any manmade institution doing the work God assigned the local church. Brethren, let us be sure we honor the place where God has recorded His Name!