Worship Is Festival


(All Bible verses are from NIV, if not otherwise mentioned.)

 Exodus 5:1-3
1   Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.
   Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”

Exodus 7:16Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened.

Exodus 10:8,9
   Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
   Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”
Worship Is Festival
God uses the words ‘festival’ and ‘worship’ interchangeably not to confuse or bluff Pharaoh.
For God, real worship is always a festival.
 In ancient times, and even in these times, there were many notable occasions for conducting a festival.
Many ancient civilizations have disappeared because of three plausible reasons.
1.   Famine
2.   Infectious disease
3.   War
So they conducted festival to their gods to give thanks to:
1.      Victorious harvest
2.      Victory from infectious diseases.
3.      Victory over enemies
1.   Victorious harvest
 It is celebrated before or after a good harvest.
 Man may work hard and long for a good harvest.
But a good harvest needs good climate also
Good harvest needs proper rain and sunshine.
 Man cannot manipulate nature.
So it considered to be god’s part to give a good harvest.
Without a good harvest, people could not survive for another year.
Many civilizations have disappeared because of famine.
Festival for a good harvest is a festival of victory.

2.   Victory over infectious diseases.
 It is where once again man fails and cries for divine intervention.

3.   Victory over enemies
 Kings ruled by the support of gods
Kings were appointed representatives of gods
Each country had its own patron god.

Wars were fought between gods of two or more nations.
Victory is the victory of gods of the nation.
So special festivals were held.

Worship is always a celebration of Joy
 All festivals were held to worship the victorious god.
 Israelites were called to worship their true and living victorious God.
 Hence worship is festival.

Exodus 32:17
17        When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”
18        Moses replied: “It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.”

Psalms 118:15, 16
15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”

The worship of Israelites just after they crossed the Red Sea was a shout of victory and Joy

Exodus 15:1- 4
1    Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.
   “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
   The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
4        Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
Exodus 15:21
21  Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 - But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 2:14   But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. (Amplified Bible -AMP)

2 Corinthians 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (KJV)

Why should they conduct a festival?
Because they are victors.
Their God has delivered them from Pharaoh and his gods.
They could not deliver themselves from the shackles of slavery.
So their God intervened for them and delivered them from the slavery.
The victory of the king is the victory of the nation.
The victory of the king is the victory of the citizens.
Colossians 2:13-15
13  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
14  having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
15      And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (NIV)

Who should celebrate a festival?
 Only those are victorious.
 We are delivered from the kingdom of Satan.
 In Colossians 1:13, Paul teaches that redemption amounts to an exchange of rulers over our lives, stating that God has delivered us believers

Colossians 1:13     For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (NIV)

Why in the Desert
 Separation from Egypt
 1.   No Worship in Egypt
2.   Worshiping Jehovah is different from the idol worship of Egyptians
3.   Israelites should not take any religious ceremony from Egypt
4.   So God wanted them to be separate from Egypt
5.   Worship started only after Israelites crossed the sea – only in the desert
Exodus 8:25-27
25  Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
26  But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us?
27  We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”

Joshua 24:14-16
14  “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
15   But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
16  Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!

Worship is meeting God

Mount Sinai is the place of Personal meeting with God

Exodus 3:12  And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

On the fiftieth from the celebration of the Passover, the glory of God appeared on the mount; in commemoration of which the Jews celebrate the feast of Pentecost.

Exodus 19:3-8  
3    Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel:
   ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
   Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,
  you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
   So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak.
   The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.

Exodus 19:13  They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”

Exodus 19:9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.

Holy spirit can take you to Mount Sinai – the meeting place of God


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