February 26, 2018

Exodus 9:1–3 (NLT) — 1 “Go back to Pharaoh,” the Lord commanded Moses. “Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. 2 If you continue to hold them and refuse to let them go, 3 the hand of the Lord will strike all your livestock—your horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats—with a deadly plague.

We don not exist for ourselves. We exist for the Lord. The Lord will not tolerate anything that keeps us from worshiping him. Whatever it is that keeps us from worshiping the Lord he demands that we release it and thereby releasing its hold on us. The livestock and animals was the way the Egyptians made their livelihood in their agricultural society.

We can get so wrapped up in making a living, making money, making the next payment and making ourselves comfortable that it takes us away from worshiping the Lord. We must be very careful because the Lord may take the very thing away from us that took us away from him.

Exodus 20:4–5 (NLT) — 4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.

When our affection for things and people exceed our affection for God it leads to trouble. That affection for other things is called selfishness. Selfishness is sin and sin is what is wrong with the world. Selfishness causes us to forget that we exist for God. God is so extremely jealous for us, he doesn’t want us to suffer the effects of sin, that he will do what he can to turn us towards himself; even to the point of sending his son to die for us. Now that is healthy jealousy! That is true love.

If we don’t stop the sin of selfishness in its tracks it continues on from generation to generation like a bad mutated gene and each generation gets a little worse. This is what we are witnessing today. The Lord is still saying today, “Let my people go so they can worship me.”

I think two telltale signs that indicate we are being kept from worship is first the gradual diminishing of our joy. Our outlook on life isn’t quite as bright and we don’t really look forward to the coming of each day. We tend to focus on the negative more than the positive.

Second is that we become more and more ungrateful. It becomes increasingly harder to give thanks to the Lord while we have our teeth clenched in frustration.

So how can we be released to worship? I believe that true worship is an act of the will. We know that God is good and we know that God will work all things together for good. So our will acts on what we know not on what is happening at the moment.

Psalm 118:24 (NLT) — 24 This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 27:13–14 (NLT) — 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 119:92 (NLT) — 92 If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.

So when it comes to worship what will you do?

Be Inspired Hilltop!