There are two forms of worship: voluntary and prescribed.
Up until now, the Hebrews had been allowed to do free-form, voluntary worship. When dad came home from the brickyard and shared the story of dead cattle all over or of management not showing up in the brickyard because of the boils, the emotions of the family around the dinner table were unscripted, but were worship.
And for the first nine plagues, worship was whatever the Hebrews wanted it to be. Some were reserved, some were flamboyant. Some worshiped overtly with words and emotions, others just pondered deeply in the privacy of their inner being. At the end of the day, worship came to the Father in 100,000 different forms, and it was all accepted.
God makes room for voluntary, free-form worship.
However, He is also the God who established with Cain that He has a right to define the worship He wants. And that modifying the terms of His prescribed worship is deadly to a relationship with Him.
So leading up to the tenth plague, Moses rolled out an abundance of instructions. First was time. The calendar starts here, the ceremonies begin here and the big day is here. Food was specific – sheep or goat. Age and quality of the animal was specified. How it was cooked and served: specified. Seasoning for the meat: specified. Body position at the table: specified. How to deal with the leftovers: specified.
Each of the things that God specified was a prophetic symbol of the ultimate Passover. That was not the only point however. I doubt very many of the brick makers had a solid grasp of the theology of the evening.
Foundationally, God was introducing a concept that would be reiterated over and over again in the next few months: He gets to define worship and the people of God MUST synchronize to Him in minute detail when He demands it. There is not really any room for hybrid worship where you take His instructions and modify them for the tastes of the culture and present Him a mix.
People died doing that.
Today there are not often corporate instructions about worship except the standing instruction to not partake of Holy Communion with hidden sin in your life.
However, God frequently gives individuals personal instructions about how He wishes to be worshipped in a particular context or for a particular reason.
Our prayer today is primarily an acknowledgement of His right to make the rules regarding worship.
Copyright November 2015 By Arthur Burk
From the Hub
P.S. Starting this week, these will be sent out twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday.