When God freed His people from slavery in Egypt, He saved them for a distinct purpose: to worship Him. Today, R.C. Sproul connects this narrative to our redemption in Christ, encouraging us to worship God in holy reverence.
You know the story, how the Jewish people had been enslaved under the tyranny of Pharaoh and forced to make bricks even without straw. And they were miserable, and they cried, and they wept, and they groaned until, finally, we read in the Scriptures that God said, “I have heard the groaning of My people,” and God then appeared in the Midianite wilderness to Moses.
You know the story: “Moses, take off your shoes from off your feet, for the ground whereon you’re standing is holy ground.” And God gave the command to Moses to go to the court of Pharaoh, the most powerful leader on the face of the globe. And he went as a Midianite shepherd with a message from God, and you know the story, Moses goes to Pharaoh with this message from God that says simply, “Let My people go.”
Now, for the rest of the story. Why did God command that Pharaoh let these slaves go? Was it simply because God was acting to rescue them from the misery of their experience in slavery? Certainly, that was an important element of it, but it’s not the rest of the story; it’s not all of the story that Moses was commanded to speak to Pharaoh. He said, “Let My people go, so”—that is for the purpose of—“that they may come to My mountain and worship Me there.”
Now, that dramatic story of rescue in the Old Testament had as its ultimate goal that these people who were rescued might come and worship God. And if we fast-forward to the New Testament, and we see the elaborate work of redemption that Christ, the new Moses, had accomplished for us in saving His people, we know what He saved them from. He saved them from the wrath of God. But the question is, What did He save him for? And the ultimate answer to that question, beloved, is for worship.
One of my greatest concerns for the church in our day is that worship in so many churches has become casual. Casual worship is a contradiction in terms. No person ever comes into the immediate presence of a holy God in a cavalier manner. You don’t come into the presence of God dressed like you were going to the beach. And sometimes we reveal how casually we take the whole experience of worship. But beloved, when we come to worship, this is holy ground. And we come not with a servile fear, but with a godly fear—a sense of reverence before Him, a sense of fear and trembling that was experienced by the disciples in that boat on the Sea of Galilee. Yes, they were frightened—and they should have been frightened because they were in the presence of the Holy One of Israel, before whom even the demons from hell screamed in terror.
And so, we come to church for so many different reasons: to experience fellowship, and that’s a wonderful thing; some people come to be entertained; some people come to learn pop psychology lessons and all the rest. But the reason that we are to come if we are mature in our faith, is to worship Him, to bow down before Him, to sing our praises to Him, to offer the sacrifice of praise to our God, and to adore Him with the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.