Exodus 30 - The Elements and Importance of Worship
The book of Exodus records God's mighty hand in delivering the Hebrew people from the bondage of Egypt. The Hebrews had been in bondage 490 years so none of them had any experience with any other type or way of living. Being free requires an entirely different set of principles to live by. That is one reason why many people who have been incarcerated for decades aren't successful living outside of that environment. The skills required to live independently must be developed through practice, through experience. Incarceration and bondage, slavery all diminish those skills. Slavery, confinement and detention minimize a person's opportunity to develop creative thinking. Imprisonment restricts normal social development and interaction. Slavery of any kind is not normal or desirable. It greatly reduces opportunities for expansion because it inhibits the way a person thinks and affects the way they process information.
God knew all of this when He sent Moses to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. God knew the people would experience fear of the unknown. None of these people, except Moses, had ever lived in freedom. They had no point of reference for what liberty looked like, felt like or required. Freedom is much better than bondage but it necessitates a vastly different way of thinking and behaving.
God knew that even though the people were joyful when leaving Egypt, they would become paralyzed with fear at the first obstacle that presented itself before them. They were used to being under subjection. They were not used to solving problems, making decisions or trusting God with every step they took.
God knew their mindsets were heavily influenced by imprisonment and what they had seen and experienced in Egypt. That's why God spent considerable time after He got them out of Egypt, getting Egypt out of them. It was a process. The book of Exodus is filled with the specifics of how God wanted them to live, think and worship. God's instructions are very detailed. There is no room for private interpretation. The Hebrews were to stick to God's script. It was like a Prison Reform Re-entry Program. The wilderness was the Halfway House. They had to stop there for a season before God could introduce them to all the blessings and avenues of prosperity He had for them in the Promised Land.
Exodus 30 is part of the instruction manual God gave to Moses for the people to live by. This chapter pertains to worship and the order in which the information is presented actually spells the word WORSHIP. Notice the following:
W - What to do, why, when and who - Verses 1-8, 10 (What not to do - Verse 9)
O - Offerings - Verses 12-16
R - Reverence, Respect and Regard - Verses 18-21 (Prepare to meet with God. Don't approach Him casually or without honoring Him)
S - Spices - Verses 23-25
H - Holy - House - Holy - Verses 26-33 (All are to be consecrated and purposed for the Lord)
I - Incense - Verses 34-35
P - Pure Perfume Powder - Verses 36-38
Humanity has a tendency to 'tweak' God's instructions. Sometimes because we think we have a better idea. Sometimes people alter what God has said because it is more convenient to do it a different way. Other times people are just plain obstinate and want to follow their own mind instead of following the mind and heart of God. Whatever the reasons are for disobedience, it is still just that: disobedience. There is no good reward for not following God's instructions. Whatever He has said, we are to obey. No tweaking, no altering, no adding, no subtracting.
Worship the Lord as He requires. Adhere strictly to His specifications. He is the author and object of worship. He designed it and desires it. Worship is not worship unless it is as He has said. Some of what people do, they may call worship but if God hasn't ordained it as such He does not receive what is offered as worship.
Only those who are in relationship with Him can worship. Worship acknowledges and honors God for who He is. He is the only one who fully knows what He requires and desires. If we want Him to accept our worship, we must do it His way.
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