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The Sabbath Blog

Whom Will I Worship?

Whom Will I Worship?
Joe Kennedy, a high school coach in Washington State, lost his job in 2016 because he took a moment to pray on the field at the end of each football game. When he took the issue to court, he was told that he “spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen when he kneeled and prayed on the fifty-yard line immediately after games in school-logoed attire while in view of students and parents.”

The court stated that students could initiate religious activities or expressions of faith on school grounds, but opponents in the case felt that any religious influence from the teachers places pressure on students and makes school an unsafe place for practicing personal religion.

This case highlights the tension between two principles upon which the United States was founded: separation of church and state and our constitutional freedom to individually worship as we choose.

The Bible evokes the principle of church and state separation when Jesus told His disciples, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Luke 20:25). The Bible also speaks of the importance of the freedom to worship as we choose. Joshua said to God’s people, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Keeping the seventh-day Sabbath is a prominent sign of who God is and of our choice to worship the Him. “Hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:20).

As God’s people transitioned from living in a theocracy with their laws directly from God, to living in nations with laws handed down from secular authorities, God expected His people to obey the laws of the land. The apostle Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1).

Yet we can see in our world today that man’s laws are on a collision course with God’s laws. Soon the laws of the land will require us to worship according to man instead of according to God. And when this happens, our first allegiance must be to God. Peter and John said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Today, as we follow Paul’s Romans 13 advice to live as law-abiding citizens among secular laws, we have the opportunity to prepare for the time when obeying the laws of man keep us from obeying the laws of God. Click here for a FREE resource that will help you prepare for that time when you will be forced to decide, “Whom will I worship?”