Released to worship God
16 You shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.” Exodus 7:16New American Standard Bible (NASB)
What is release? Should I seek to be released?
7971 – šālah – to send out; to be sent away; to be sent; to send away, let go, release; thrust out; to “let go” from a marriage relationship is to divorce.
Before His people could serve Him properly they had to get a divorce from their slave masters. God was going though divorce negotiations with Pharaoh every time He spoke though Moses and Aaron and told the King of Egypt to let them go.
Interesting. Let’s follow that line of reasoning.
17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will strike [a]the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. 18 The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will [b]become foul, and the Egyptians will [c]find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.”’” Exodus 7:17-18 (NASB)
Part of negotiating the terms of divorce is to confirm who the parties involved really are.
Never forget that the One who delivers you is exactly who He says He is. So just in case you were wondering who He is that does the delivering…
Lord – Strong’s word 3068 – Yahweh – The proper name of the One True God; knowledge or use of the name implies personal or covenant relationship; the name pictures God as the One who exists and causes all things to exist.
Very cool that One so AWESOME should take on the job, isn’t it? He is both willing and able. What a treasure to be associated with Him!
Released to worship God
8 [a]Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs. Exodus 8:1-2New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The word “that” sometimes seems insignificant. Here it has a great deal of meaning…knowing there is a “next thing”. Looking toward the “next thing” God has for us is an essential part of belonging to Him.
11 Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old [d]gained approval. Hebrews 11:1-2 (NASB)
There is a journey between point A (slavery) and point B (emancipation). Hope.
Hope gets us through transitions. And friend, deliverance for the people of God is one doozy of a transition. Amen?
God is gracious. He tells us a tid-bit about our “next thing”. Looking toward the next thing gives us hope.
The people of the Exodus hoped for the fulfillment of the prophesy; To be given a land of their own. God was acquiring a people He could call His own; sons who would not be false to Him, His inheritance.
The word “to” here represents the whole journey from Point A to Point B – forced marriage to the wrong person, divorce, remarriage, living with the right person …in love …by choice.
Released to worship God
The unspoken but definitely inferred part of that phrase is that there is someone special who needs releasing.
20 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, [a]as he comes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.21 For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they dwell. 22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are [b]living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that [c]I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land. Exodus 8:20-22New American Standard Bible (NASB)
God had distinguished Himself to the slave master. Now He defined who really belonged to whom.
Were there really more than just Jacob’s descendants living in Goshen? Does it matter? That is where those who chose to identify with Jacob’s God lived. Interesting to note what God tells Pharaoh, – surprise – God is there with His people.
God is with you in the midst of your release.
God is with you in the midst of your release. From the beginning of divorce negotiations with your slave masters of fear, addiction, anxiety, worry, forced labor, manipulators, abusive relationships, altered self-perceptions, and whatever or whomever else through the whole nasty business to the completion of the transaction.
Released to worship God
Right when Pharaoh was about to let Israel go, there needed to be , as with all divorce proceedings and documentation, a clarification of terms.
Apparently, Terms Part 1 of the agreement was distance.
25 Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.”
26 But Moses said, “It is not right to do so,
for we will sacrifice to the Lord our God [a]what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice [b]what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us?
27 We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He[c]commands us.”
28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.”
29 Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”
30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord.31 The Lord did [d]as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.32 But Pharaoh [e]hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Exodus 8:25-9:1 (NASB)
That last bit the NIV translates as “worship” instead of “serve”. The word is Strong’s # 5647 – ‘ābad – to work do, serve, labor; to worship, minister, to work in ministry; to be plowed, be cultivated; to be worked; to reduce to servitude, enslave, cause to serve; to be caused to serve.
Well that is not the Sunday morning kind of worship celebration we revel in today is it? Have you ever considered that God releases His people to work for Him. He intends for us to work …Not for the church, not for other slave masters, not for ourselves but WORK FOR HIM.
Working FOR God is worship OF God.
Most agreements have concessions and so did this one. Distance was respectful (v 26,27) We see respect also in 9:15-19 where power is no longer a disputable point – God could have killed them outright but didn’t – God offers a degree of relief to the Egyptian people who are suffering because of Pharaoh’s choices. Pity only some of them took Him up on the offer.
Released to worship God
3 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Exodus 10:3New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Power would not move him. Kindness would not move him. Pharaoh wanted more clarification of terms. He would not grant this divorce otherwise.
8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them,
“Go, serve the Lord your God! [a]Who are the ones that are going?”
9 Moses said, “We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, for we [b]must hold a feast to the Lord.”
10 Then he said to them, “Thus may the Lord be with you, [c]if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is [d]in your mind. 11 Not so! Go now, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for [e]that is what you desire.”
So they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. Exodus 10:8-11New American Standard Bible (NASB
Here we have Terms Part 2: Who gets to go? Young and old, sons and daughters, flocks and herds… all of us. Why? Festivals to God are family events. Divorce negotiations involve grandparents, inheritances, children, possessions, etc. Who is actually leaving must be discussed and agreed upon. This deliverance was no different. BUT…
Wrongful slave masters are not allowed to say what.
They are not allowed to say where.
They are also not allowed to dictate with whom you serve.
Only rightful masters possess authority over all those areas
of your life, child of God.
Gird yourself during release negotiations with these truths.
God lets Pharaoh know He wants ALL his people with the advent of the locusts and the destruction of all vegetation in the whole of Egypt. Even three days of Darkness that could be felt did not change Pharaoh’s heart towards Israel. He kept trying to negotiate the terms of this severance.
Finally he’s willing to let the people go but wanted to keep the flocks. Moses says no. Not a hoof was to be left behind. He informed Pharaoh politely that since God would tell them which animals were needed for the sacrifice, all of them would have to go along. (God does that with us too. We often won’t know what we need to do God’s work until we get to where He wants us to accomplish it. It’s a faith thing.)
Pharaoh was not happy with that. In fact, he was furious.
So was Moses.
But listen to this dear friend, old and wrongful slave masters do not get to dictate the terms of your leaving. Only your new and rightful master has that authority.
28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! [b]Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!”
29 Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again!”
(Awww, but we’re not done yet.) The Last Plague
11 Now the Lord said to Moses, “One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely. (Complete divorce, absolute severance from the old slave master is ESSENTIAL.)
2 Speak now in the [c]hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold.” 3 The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was [d]greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
4 Moses said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.
6 Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. 7 But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even [e]bark, whether against man or beast, that you may [f]understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ 8
All these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves [g]before me, saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who [h]follow you,’ and after that I will go out.”And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. Exodus 10:28-11:8 (NASB)
Release from bondage is a transition with rules.
- Identify the parties involved and the powers each one holds
- Wrongful masters are not allowed to dictate terms of release
- Complete divorce from the old slave master is a process necessary to the “next thing”
- Old slave masters do not give up easily. When they do comply, they are convinced it is their own idea.
- Expressing compassion for those impacted by the release itself is valid
- Those released are freed for a purpose…to a particular work for a particular God
- Complete release is a process and a festal procession. Allow the first. Enjoy the second.
You too can be
Released to worship God