“If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.” Exodus 20:25
It was an odd requirement for God to make of the Israelites as they built their altars unto God.
He didn’t want them to change or shape the stones they used as they built. He wanted uncut stones, left in their natural state. It seems like a strange request, but God has a reason for everything He commands.
You see, the altar was a place of worship. And He didn’t want our worship to look like us. He wants our worship to look like Him. Did it take more work for those Israelites to find stones that would fit together, instead of making the stones suit their needs? Of course. But it was a lesson to them, and to us. Worship should be God designed, not man designed.
It doesn’t matter if your are worshipping in a congregation of hundreds, with fancy production values and well-trained musicians. It doesn’t matter if you are worshipping at home with your toddler, teaching her songs that tell of His great love. It doesn’t matter if you are worshipping alone in your room, thanking God for His mercies being new every morning.
What counts is that our worship isn’t about us, but about Him. What matters is that our worship is sincere and from a pure, repentant, and humble heart.
As we worship in this way, we are molded into His image, not our own. Our service to Him won’t serve our purposes, but His. Our lives won’t glorify us and our good works, but Him and His excellent greatness.
Remember that worship that pleases God, and changes us, is, in the end, what we were created for.