Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Mosaic Address:
    606 West 3rd Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday:  8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am
  • Infant through 5th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!



Back To List

Feb 19, 2023

Wired for Worship

Passage: Deuteronomy 4:15-31

Preacher: Jess Achenbach

Series: Deuteronomy

Category: Old Testament, Worship, Idolatry

Keywords: worship, idol, moses, idolatry, promised land, deuteronomy, aaron, calf


Idolatry is more than worshiping idols, it can also be worshiping God in our own (wrong) way that is self serving instead of how he has called us to worshp



God created man to worship Him.  There is a natural longing in us to worship, and we see this not just in Christianity, but across every culture and all throughout time.  People either worship the true God or they make up their own god to worship. There are 7 primary religions recognized today and they are:  Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Animism and although it isn’t on the list, I would include Paganism.  Inside of those however there are actually over 4000 different religions or sects.  For example, if you look at Christianity, just here in the United States there are 64 different kinds of Baptists, more than 70 denominations of Mormonism, and the list goes on and on.  With the Baptists alone when we look worldwide, there are hundreds of denominations.

When I was a kid I remember talking to missionaries in West Papua about their experience of going into these remote villages and how deeply entrenched the people were in their Animism.  Relatively untouched for who knows how longs, they all had their own version of worship.

 But think of all the different gods created through time and culture, Norse gods, Roman gods, Greek Gods, Germanic gods, Celtic gods, African gods, Egyptian gods, Hindu gods, Aztek gods, Aboriginal gods,  Islander gods, the god of self found in Buddism, the worship of mankind in humanism, the list goes on and on, and there are big ones I haven’t mentioned because we would be here all day.

Romans 1:18-24 tells us this: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

This all started when Adam and Eve lived in the garden prior to sin, they were walking with God, living in harmony, worshiping God with perfect worship and they could do this because there was no sin.  Satan the deceiver, tempted them with this thought- that they could be like God, knowing good from evil.  By yielding to the temptation of sin and eating the fruit in order to be like GOD they introduced us to SIN and in that sin an alternative to true worship, which is Idolatry.

Man will worship, will they choose to Obey God in how he has commanded them, or will they do it their own way either worshiping wrongly or something forbidden.  Today we will be looking at Deuteronomy 4, picking up where Pastor Bob left off last week, and will be covering what God tells us about idol worship. 

We start off our section in verse 15 with the word “Therefore” and we know that when we see this word it helps us to pay attention to an application of a principal that the author has just developed, - when we see a “therefore” we must find out what it’s there for.


The principal we studied last week when Pastor Bob spoke is the obedience that God calls us to in chapter 4:1-14. We are to be a witness to our neighbors and our children, and grandchildren.  The obedience of binding God’s Word to our hearts, he emphasized the value of God’s commands, His word, we are not to change it but practice it.

In the last section, Moses repeatedly commands the Israelites to keep the word of God close, don’t change it.  Let me read verse 1, 2 and 14.

Verse 1“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.


Verse 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.”



Verse 14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.


I am going to read our verses for today, and I want to break them into two different sections.

  POINT 1: Verses 15-23 Cautions against Idolatry 

15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. 21 Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. 22 For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. 23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you.

POINT 2: Verses 24-28 Consequence of Idolatry

24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

25 “When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

We know that this is exactly what happened.  They turned to other gods on their way in to the land and continued these cycles of idolatry until they were led away in captivity after less than 700 years in the land.

POINT 3: Verses 29-31 Cure for your Idolatry

29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

After almost 200 years in captivity Nehemiah led people back into the land and rebuild the temple.  This took place in 583 BC.



With the understanding that the people of Israel represent us, from leaving our slavery to sin (Egypt) wandering the dessert 40 years (Sanctification) to living in the promised land (Living in the center of Gods will for our lives) it seems crazy that they witnessed the greatness of God and then chose to disobey Him.  We say to ourselves, well if it was me and I had the chance to know God in that capacity I wouldn’t have disobeyed like they did. Yet, we do.  We have the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are also not bound to the very strenuous Civil Law, or Ceremonial Law requirements that they were.


Exodus is the history of Moses being called and leading the people of Israel out of Egypt and through the desert. Chapters 1-18 are his calling and the plagues until leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea  We pick up in Chapter 19.

Exodus 19 On the 3rd New Moon after they crossed the red sea, God speaks to everyone, tells Moses to come up the Mt and he will give the rules.

Exodus 20 we see the 10 Commandments.  Here is the first two:

3You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Exodus 21-23 God tells Moses the laws regarding Slave and Restitution, Social Justice, The Sabbath, and festivals and then Entering the Promised Land

Exodus 24

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.[a] And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 25 The Ark instructions

Exodus 26 Tabernacle

Exodus 27 The Altar, Court and lamp oil

Exodus 28 Priestly Garments

Exodus 29 Consecration of the Priests

Exodus 30 How the Priests are to worship

Exodus 31 The Sabbath

Exodus 32 The Golden Calf, Moses Flips out.

Moses had been up on the Mountain communing with God, and for those 40 days the people down below were nervous and fearful. Hearing the actual voice of God must have been quite frightful, but it says they were also getting impatient.

SIDEBAR: Over the last 400 years of living in Egypt, they had begun to integrate into the Egyptian culture, we know this because when God tell Moses through the burning bush in Exodus 3 that he wants him to go and be His spokesman to Pharaoh and lead the people out of captivity, Moses asks God this in verse 13

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

In Joshua 24:14 it says “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”

The Israelites were used to a physical representation of what they worshiped while they were in Egypt so it seems only natural that they went to Aaron their temporary leader and asked him to make them a god to worship.  Aaron asks the people to give them their gold earrings and he forms it into an idol in the shape of a golden calf.  I think initially, there was some intent to link it to God, to perhaps worship the true God using their own method.  Two reasons why I think this might be the case.

  1. Aaron names the Calf Yaway, and also, announces that the next day would be a feast to the Lord God.
  2. He stated that this was the God that brought them out of Egypt.

Regardless of what they were trying to do on their own, God had explicitly told them not to make graven images to worship out of silver or gold just 40 days prior, and they had take a blood oath saying that they never would.  They proceed to create the idol and perhaps justified doing it by calling it GoD, it rapidly moved into full blown pagan worship.  When Moses comes down the mountain they are in full revelry.

Exodus 33 Have to leave Sinai

Exodus 34 Moses remakes the 10 Commandments and comes back down, they begin to implement the commands that God gave them regarding the temple and proper worship.

Exodus 35 Contributions to the temple

Exodus 36 Making the Temple

Exodus 37 Making the Ark, table and lampstands

Exodus 38 Making the Alter, Court and Materials for the Tabernacle

Exodus 39 Making the Priestly Garments

Exodus 40 The Tabernacle is erected the Glory of God arrives

Leviticus 1 Burnt Offerings

Levitcus 2 Grain Offerings

Leviticus 3 Peace offerings

Leviticus 4 Sin Offerings

Leviticus 5 Sin and Guilt Offerings

Leviticus 6 & 7 The Priests and the Offerings

Leviticus 8 Consecration of Aaron and his Sons Nadab and Abihu

Leviticus 9 Aaron’s offering is accepted by the Lord  “

Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”

Leviticus 10 God rejects Nadab and Abihu’s offering

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized[a] fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

Nadab and Abihu worshiped God in a wrong way and became the example of what not to do.  What is the application here?  Do we worship God wrongly?  If so, what does that look like?

Nadab and Abihu were close to God, they were in the top 10 spiritual leaders out of millions of people and they fell into idolatry. 

Aaron, who was the high priest did the same with the golden calf. No one is exempt from the temptation to worship wrongly, or to put it more bluntly to have idols of their own.

While we look to the old testament, we can likely say that most Christians do not actually bow down and worship graven images and idols, other religions do, like the fellow I met on our side walk this last week.

There is some guidance for us though in the New Testament.  If you have your bibles, we will be reading out of Colossians 3 or you can look to the screen.


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Here we have a list of blatant ways that we have idols in our lives, and we need to battle these.  The warning is very clear – because of these the WRATHE OF GOD IS COMING.

I was talking with Candice about these two concepts, worshiping God wrongly, and blatantly having idols in our lives.  We blur the lines on these quite a bit.  What would be a way of worshiping God wrongly for us today?


Worship God in the wrong way- Pastor Shepherding, Growing church, missions travel, prosperity/worship.

What about Passion?  That was one of the words listed in the section above.  Is it wrong to have passion?  The word comes from the Greek word Pathos which is used three times in the new testament: and has these two definitions:

  1. whatever befalls one, whether it be sad or joyous; specifically, a calamity, mishap, evil, affliction.
    2. a feeling which the mind suffers, an affection of the mind, emotion, passion; passionate desire


"I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we're not doing it for God—I mean, that's one way to look at it—we're doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we're happy. That's the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy.


IDOLITARY: Substance, greed, lust, love of money, exercise,






POINT 1: Verses 15-23 Cautions against Idolatry 

POINT 2: Verses 24-28 Consequence of Idolatry

POINT 3: Verses 29-31 Cure for your Idolatry

The best part about this cure is that we get to see more of God’s Charactar.  He requires holiness, but he is a merciful God, here again is the promise for the Isrealites in our passage today 4:29-31

But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice.

For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

And just like the promise God gave to his Chosen people way back before they even came into the land, we have the promise of God in Colossians 3 When Christ is ruling in our hearts, we will worship Him and Live.


15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


HEAR ME NOW:  Adam and Eve, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, all in the very presence of God, and still turned away to sinful desires, worshiping something else.  It isn’t about believe.  It is about SIN.  This is why obedience is so important, when we are seeking the Lord, denying our own fleshly desires, this is the key to living in the center of God’s will and avoiding idolatry.

This Wednesday is the start of LENT what is God convicting your heart to let go of that is idolatry in your life.