When Israel entered the land they were told not to imitate the way that the Pagans worshiped their gods. Israel was to remove the pagan style of worship and their gods were to be forgotten. Included in the list of pagan paraphernalia that was to be obliterated was altars, stones, poles and idols. These gods were a false reality that included lies about life, faulty understanding of people, artificial historical facts, deception concerning the spiritual realm, corrupt views of the physical realm and misrepresentation of the Lord himself. All combined these lies produced a sinful, corrupt and immoral worldview that destroyed nations and their cultures. Instead, the Lord had provided truth and reality in order to build a nation and prosper their society.
Israel was to worship the Lord God in the way he had prescribed in order to communicate that truth and realities that were in line with the Lord’s nature, his creation and his plans.
Moses spoke of “the place the Lord your God will choose…for his dwelling” (Jerusalem). It would be another 400 years before this place was secured and a proper place of worship would be built, although Abraham had worshiped here when he offered Isaac and when he honored God by paying a tithe to Melchizedek.
When this place of worship was identified and a place of worship was instituted, then Israel is told, “To that place you must go,” to worship the Lord with offerings, sacrifices, tithes and gifts.
By having a central place of worship it would be possible to maintain a consistent presentation of the Truth that had been revealed to Israel. But, if Israel ever drifted away from this central place of worship (Jerusalem) they would begin to tarnish the Truth with pagan ideas and individual preferences. This type of corruption eventually set into Israel’s worship when they began to meet in high places. Even by the time of the book of Judges Israel was welcoming individual forms of worship that incorporated the very pagan religions they were to drive out.