Monday, May 29, 2017

Worship in Freedom

Worship in Freedom
May 29, 2017
Exodus 5:3 ". . . Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. . . "

When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, the Lord sent Moses to free them from the oppression of Pharaoh. The Lord told Moses to tell the Pharaoh that the Israelites were to go free so they may travel to the wilderness and hold a Festival to the Lord. Another verse later the Bible records it as a three-day journey outside of Egypt so they may offer sacrifices to the Lord there. Another translation of the Scripture records it as going into the desert to worship the Lord freely. Either way it is communicated, the Lord wanted them to be free to worship Him uninhibited and with all out freedom. Some say it was important to travel that far away from the epicenter of Egypt so it would be a clean place. In Egypt they offered sacrifices to pagan gods and the Lord didn't appreciate such a defiled place for them to worship Him. The Lord wanted them to be able to honor Him with cleanliness, worship Him in a far more hollowed fashion.

While the story of the Israelites needs little re-telling, the Pharaoh never let them go, at least not so quickly and easily. In fact, it is many, many verses later, after significant drama, that the Israelites made it out to the place of freedom so they could worship the Lord uninhibited. When we read their story, do we remember the sole purpose was so they could honor the Lord in the manner He requested? We always think the story of the Israelites was so they could escape slavery, but it was really so they could worship the Lord freely, honoring Him as the Lord desired, so He could be there God.

I don't know where you live right now, what nation or part of the country you reside and I don't know if you have the freedom to worship the Lord uninhibited, but I challenge you to remind yourself of the greatest benefit of anyones freedom. The greatest luxury on the face of this planet is to be able to worship the Lord your God in freedom, without adulteration, without oppression, in cleanliness, and with complete devotion. If you've ever experienced oppression, you understand the pressures to align yourself with your oppressor so it would go well with you, conforming to their desires for you. But if you've ever escaped from that oppression, you understand what it means to do anything you want in the fashion you want to do it. The Lord understood this for the Israelites. He knew they couldn't worship the Lord in complete freedom unless they no longer lived under the oppression of the Pharaoh.

I challenge you to take advantage of your freedoms and make sure you worship the Lord your God uninhibited. If you don't, you're throwing away your freedom, making void someone else's sacrifice on your behalf to be free and worship the Lord without that oppression. Take a moment right now, an appreciative moment to honor the Lord with the freedom that you do possess. That freedom is the greatest physical gift you can have on this earth, that a man can give you. Enjoy that freedom and protect it for others. Savor it and don't let it go to waste; there are others around the world who don't have the same freedom as you.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Exodus 5:1-3, 2 Sam 6

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