Religion Without Restriction
Intro: This story begins with a set of instructions delivered by Almighty God to Moses about the implementation of a worship service. They had been in bondage for 400 years. It was time for them to get back to worshipping Him. God was hungry for His people to worship Him His way!
SEE Exodus 3:13-16
1. Notice the Source of the Delivery – it came straight from God to Moses; can’t argue with the source.
- Vs. 13 …whom shall I say sent me?
- Vs. 4 tell them I AM hath sent you…
- Vs. 15 …and God said moreover unto Moses…
- Vs. 16 I have surely visited you…
2. Notice the Simplicity of the Delivery
It was not in the least bit complicated; simple, easy to follow
God’s way and God’s will are not complicated.
In our lack of faith, and in our lack of obedience, we tend to complicate
3. Notice the System of the Delivery – the process that God used (Exodus 3:16, 18)
- Exodus 3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and [seen] that which is done to you in Egypt:
- Vs. 18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
God gave His man the directions and told His man to tell Pharaoh.
God did not give the Egyptians the instructions on worship.
God also did not give the Egyptians the instructions himself.
God gave the instructions to His man and told him to tell God’s people AND the Egyptians!
I. The Proposal was Unequivocal
- The Person of Worship – 3:18 “…The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us…”
- The Petition for Worship – 3:18 “…and now let us go, we beseech thee…”
- The Place for Worship – 3:18 “…three days journey into the wilderness…”
- The Process of Worship – 3:18 “…that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God”
- The Prohibiting of Worship – 3:19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
NOTE: God saw it in advance; wasn’t concerned.
II. The Problem was Undeniable
A. Pharaoh had a Problem with God – 5:1, 2 “Who is the Lord; …I know not the Lord…”
B. Pharaoh had a Problem with God’s People – 5:4-9 – SEE also 1:7-22
C. Pharaoh had a Problem with God’s Word – 5:9 “…let them not regard vain words.”
III. The Parameters were Unacceptable
Moses’ demanded RELIGION WITHOUT RESTRICTION. – Exodus 5:1 “Let my people go, that they may…”
It was exactly what God had told him to say to Pharaoh.
Just as God foretold, Pharaoh balked.
In 5:2, he adamantly refused to permit it.
After a few plagues, he began to soften a bit.
By chapter 8, after the plagues of the water turning into blood, the frogs, the lice and the flies, Pharaoh wanted to negotiate.
The issue was, Pharaoh’s parameters, though reasonable to him, were completely unacceptable.
- Because of the Place – 8:25 “go and sacrifice…in the land”
He doesn’t care how much you worship, just do it his way – in his land.
Notice Moses’ reply:
- Exodus 8:26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?
- Because of the Proximity – vs. 28 “only ye shall not go very far away…”
Go through the motions without getting too far away from Egypt and its control.
Pharaoh wanted to keep them on a short leash; not let them get too independent.
See, they were slaves; they were pawns in his long-term schemes and plans.
Keep Egypt in sight; don’t go too far. Three days journey typifies death to self; That’s too far.
Don’t get too carried away; get too involved; too sold out; just keep it simple.
C. Because of the People – 10:11 “go now ye that are men”
Leave your wife and kids behind; don’t expect them to follow. Satan hates families that serve God.
D. Because of the Price – 10:24 “leave your flocks”
You can “worship” just as long as it doesn’t cost you anything.
No sacrificing; serving God shouldn’t cost you anything; don’t be too zealous; look what it cost you…
- 2 Samuel 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
Could they have worshipped God in Egypt? Of course. God is omnipresent.
Could they have worshipped God without going three days into the wilderness? Of course.
Could they have sent the men out to the edge of town to worship without their wives and kids? Sure.
Could they have worshipped without offering sacrifices? They certainly could have tried.
There was only one small problem.
That was not how God told them to do it.
That is not where God told them to do it.
That is not who God wanted to do it.
And Newsflash – Pharaoh doesn’t get to dictate to God’s people how they worship their God!
God is the one that defines the parameters.
God is the one that communicates His will and His plan for His people – not Egypt!
Moses’ reply to Pharaoh was simple. We are going to worship God:
Where He told us to,
- How He told us to,
- We will take our entire family.
- We will take our flocks.
- We are going to do what God said, and we will not settle for any negotiations or concessions.
Pharaoh refused to comply with God’s demand, so Moses said, I will see thy face no more.
There’s nothing left for us to talk about.
When God says go, and man says no, there’s nothing you can do but GO!