Short Thought continued.....
Sacrifices to our God
‘Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks?
Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land,
you are stopping them from their work.”
That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and
the Israelite foremen: “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks.
Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the
same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy.
That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’
Load them down with more work. Make them sweat!
That will teach them to listen to lies!”’
(Exodus 5:4-9 NLT)
More than four hundred years earlier Jacob and his family had moved to Egypt to join
Joseph because of a famine in Canaan. Over the years they had grown in numbers.
This caused the Egyptians to feel threatened and afraid, so they forced the
Israelites into captivity, enslaving them as their workforce.
But God heard the groans of His people; He saw their need for help and release.
He sent Moses and Aaron to lead His people out of captivity and slavery.
The first request that Moses made to Pharaoh was that they be allowed to take
a three-day journey into the wilderness to hold a festival to worship their God.
Pharaoh’s response to this was a resounding “No!”. From his perspective,
granting this request would be a distraction that would stop work and productivity.
Pharaoh neither understood nor respected their need to worship God.
All those years ago God’s people, our forefathers, were held captive,
enslaved by a leader who did not know our God.
I wonder if this is perhaps one of the origins of why we can feel enslaved by work.
These words of Pharaoh can still be heard echoed in worldly ways
and expectations that can influence and impact us today:
“Work is more important than worshipping God”,
“If you take time to worship God you are being lazy, idle:
your priorities are not right and you will be punished.”
To our ‘Pharaohs of today’ our desire and need to take time to offer
sacrifices of worship to God can been perceived as us trying to avoid work.
How are you letting others (or yourself) load you down with work, label you as lazy,
enslave you in worldly ways and expectations that both lead you away and
stop you from being able to take time to worship God?
How are you prepared to leave your ‘Egypt’ - that place which holds you captive
and enslaved to worldly ways - to journey to your ‘Promised land’ that place
where you can offer sacrifices to your God?