Be Careful How You Worship
Now we all know, don’t we, that the idea that God is a consuming fire is just an Old Testament idea. This is a trick question, this is to see if you’re paying attention. Is it true that it’s just an Old Testament idea that God is a consuming fire? No, because this very verse, Deuteronomy 4:25, is quoted in Hebrews 12:29, when the author of the letter to the Hebrews is talking about the importance of worship and the seriousness of worship, and how we’re to worship God with reverence and awe. That’s a New Testament command, not an Old Testament command, and it’s also an Old Testament command.
“Worship God with reverence and with awe,” why? Because “our God is a consuming fire,” quotes this verse from the Old Testament. There are a lot of people today who want to say in churches, “Well, it’s a very different attitude in the New Testament from the Old Testament about worship. God was very serious and particular about worship in the Old Testament but in the New Testament, you can pretty much do what you want.” That’s not true. Be careful how you worship. That’s the message of the Scripture all the way through. Worship is a lot simpler in the new covenant than it was in the old, but it’s no less serious. God is no less serious, and the relationship He wants with His people is no less serious and profound. And so, here is one of the many places in Deuteronomy where we hear an echo in the New Testament that really deepens our understanding of that New Testament teaching itself.