Summary: It explains the nature of worship in terms of the Old and New Covenant
Worship in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant
Exodus 10:3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, "This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
We all know Exodus is about how the Israelites left from Egypt. Through the study, sermon, or film, we are familiar with the exciting stories involved in Exodus such as the 10 plagues, crossing of the Red Sea, God¡¯s miraculous providing water and food and so on. On the other hand, since Exodus account is full of such exciting and interesting events, we tend to ignore the whole and comprehensive picture of Exodus. I mean our attention is so consumed in those stories in detail, we often ignore the big picture of Exodus, mainly, the reason for Exodus. Do you realize why Exodus?
In fact, God told many times the reason for Exodus through the mouth of Moses: ¡°Let my people go so that they may worship me.¡± At least 7 times in Exodus, God repeated this statement. As far as God is concerned, worship is the reason for Exodus. In other words, what matters most to God in Exodus is that His people becomes the worshipper. I believe that not only then at the time of Exodus, but also, even today, God looks for worshipper. You might even say, the Bible is a record of how God seeks after those who worship Him. Worship is His major concern, perspective and value. Though we as human beings may come up with so many ways, values, standards to determine one¡¯s success or failure, God determines one¡¯s success and failure in terms of worship. As far as God is concerned, our success depends on whether we are true worshipper of God or not.
Having said all this, we still have a question. Why was it necessary for the people to leave Egypt in order that they may worship God? The answer is this: If worship is simply a matter of certain religious rites, then there wouldn¡¯t have any need for them to leave Egypt. Actually, Pharaoh had suggested that they could stay there in Egypt to offer sacrifice. But, the people shouldn¡¯t have accepted the suggestion because worship God is more than offering sacrifice and worship God involves more than religious ceremony. Rather, worship God involves our whole being in truth. But, while they were still in Egypt, those Israelites weren¡¯t acceptable to God yet. Though they were the chosen people, their mind was so mixed with the ideas and values of Egypt. They learned wrong ideas and concepts of God while they lived for more than 400 years. Since their understanding of God was wrong, their understanding of man and their worldview was also wrong. With all these, they weren¡¯t ready yet to worship God.
This explains why when God called Abraham, He commanded him to leave from his homeland, relatives and his father¡¯s household. To be true worshipper of God, he had to separate himself from the value systems and perspectives that belonged to the world he used to be part of.
Even in our days, repentance is required must to become worshipper. As Jesus said, you can¡¯t serve two masters at the same time. You may praise, pray, and even give thanks to God, but if you at the same time still hold worldly value system and worldly perspective, then you are simply worshipping a god you yourself created though you may have meant otherwise. Do you know how Bible calls gods you yourself created or gods your imagination created? They are Idols. I mean people without intention so often make and worship Idols. (Actually the word worship is combined word of worth and ship. Worship has to do with value system.)
What makes us worshipper is not in the fact that we are engaged in the worship service. Rather, what makes us worshipper is when we change our value according to what God says. Remember, I said ¡°according to what God says.¡± Changing our value system involves more than our desire and decision. It requires correct knowledge of God. Let¡¯s take an example of Adam. After Adam committed sin, God came to Adam to restore the relationship but Adam hided himself from God¡¯s presence. Why was it? It was because Adam now had a distorted idea of God. He thought God came there to punish him. Because of his misunderstanding of God, he simply tried to make excuse himself, thus he lost the chance to repent. Even today people say they would accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord in the future only after having enjoyed the pleasure that the world has to offer. They say such because they have a distorted idea about God, assuming God doesn¡¯t care about our happiness and our pleasure and thus they have give up all the happiness and pleasure if they become Christians.