And so when you come to the land that the LORD will give you as He has spoken, you shall keep this service. And so should your sons ask you, “What is this service to you?” , you shall say, “A Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he scourged Egypt and our households He rescued.”-Exodus 12:25-27
I was planning to start chapter 13 of Exodus today.
But it was not to be.
While I was doing my preparatory reading for chapter 13, the Lord placed on my heart another very important point from chapter twelve that I just had to write about.
In verses 25 and 26 and even in the next chapter, one of the key words that keeps popping up is “service“.
Other translations may say something like “observe this ceremony” or “observe this ritual”.
However, the Hebrew word here is “AVODAH” and it is indeed the term used for “service” or “worship”.
What’s interesting is that this is the exact same word repeatedly used for the labor or slavery in Egypt.
The meaning of AVODAH is neutral having neither an inherent negative nor positive connotation attached to it.
The point here is that Israel is moving from SERVITUDE, forced laborers, as serfs for Egypt into SERVICE, a voluntary allegiance to God, based on loving and trusting Him because He first loved and saved us.
This is another “pattern” in Scripture we would do well to remember.
When we give our service to God, we move away FROM servitude to our evil inclinations and Satan TO service that is both joyous and fulfilling.
There are three takeaways here.
First, there is no neutral ground.
In this life, you will either be in service to God or in service to the devil.
There is no politically correct safe place, like Switzerland was in World War II, where you can escape and be completely free from all obligations to serve.
In one way or another, you will end up serving God or serving Satan.
Second, I think it is important to examine how you really feel when you’re engaged in service for the Lord.
Do you feel fulfilled or weighed down by a heavy feeling of obligation?
There should be joy, fulfillment, and an eager willingness to serve.
If those positive feelings are not there, then you need to take stock of the situation.
Maybe God wants you to be serving somewhere else or in a different capacity.
Or maybe you’re being treated unfairly or possibly even abused.
God’s burden is light and he doesn’t beat you over the head with guilt to get you to serve Him.
Finally, no person will find a full and lasting deep satisfaction in this life (or the next) until he or she finds his or her purpose in God.
Every person has been created to serve God in some way and until one is engaged in that service to which he or she has been called, that painful aching feeling of dissatisfaction will always end up rearing its ugly head, especially in those quiet moments when we’re not trying cover up the meaninglessness of our lives by “being busy”, “making excuses”, “drinking too much alcohol”, “overeating”, or “promiscuous sex”.
So choose this day whom you will serve!
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Come to me,
all of you who are struggling and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
because I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.”
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN EXODUS CHAPTER THIRTEEN