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You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— for as yet you have not come to the rest. (Deuteronomy 12:8-9)

Until the Sanctuary was built in Jerusalem, it would seem that private altars were permitted, a fact that seems obvious in the day of the Judges. Jewish commentators believe this statement is also made in regard to the years between Israel’s entrance into the land and the erection of the tabernacle at Shiloh, a time of about fourteen years. In other words, when there was not a centralized place of worship, as in Shiloh and later in Jerusalem, the people could dedicate altars to the LORD. However, there is this issue of “doing what is right in your own eyes.”

Even if they did worship on a private altar, they were not to bring just any kind of offering — they were to do what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Every time Scripture records that the people started doing whatever they wished, or began to do evil in the sight of the LORD, the result was always bad. Therefore, one of the primary reasons for having centralized worship was to preclude this inclination we have to do whatever we wish — which is often and whatever is convenient.

I would recommend to you that serving God is not convenient; actually it takes incredible effort. Yes, I realize that His yoke is easy and His burden is light and I realize that the Spirit of God helps us with our infirmities. But I also realize that in this world there will be tribulations. There are difficulties that must be overcome and fleshly desires and impulses that must be put down — not very convenient. So we must remember we are in the time of testing — we have not yet come to the rest He has promised us. As we are tested, it is important that we not do what seems right in our own eyes but do what the Father tells us to do, say what He tells us to say and, in all things, sanctify His Name among those we encounter.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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