That They May Serve Me: Purpose Revealed in the Exodus
"Pharaoh, Pharaoh! Oh, baby, let my people go!"
I grew up in church. My father and mother are devout Christians and we rarely missed a Sunday morning service. Or Sunday evening. Or Wednesday evening. Or Friday Fish Fry during Lent. One of the earliest songs I remember singing in Children's Church, when I was probably 8 or 9 years old, was the "Exodus" song. I call it that because I have no idea what the real title is, nor do I remember any other lyrics than the rhyme in the heading above. That's not important.
What is important is that God's representatives actually spoke these words to Pharaoh every time they were sent before that great Egyptian ruler. They were the words of God himself, given to Moses to speak on his behalf.
However catchy the song may be, it unfortunately leaves out a critical clause, a clause that is actually present nearly every single time Moses goes before Pharaoh, a clause that helps the Christian completely redefine his purpose: "...that they may serve me."
- Exodus 5:1: "Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness." (This is the only time that the clause is not explicitly present, but the thrust of those 5 words still remains.)
- Exodus 7:16: "Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness."
- Exodus 8:1: "Let my people go, that they may serve me."
- Exodus 8:20: "Let my people go, that they may serve me."
- Exodus 9:1: "Let my people go, that they may serve me."
- Exodus 9:13: "Let my people go, that they may serve me."
- Exodus 10:3: "Let my people go, that they may serve me."
My Father in Heaven, but my Lord on Earth?
With great consistency, Yahweh made it painfully obvious to Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, and the present day reader, that the reason for which he was freeing his people was that they might serve him, not that they might live according to their own whims and earthly pleasures.
If you know the rest of the story, then you know that the Israelites were indeed freed from bondage in Egypt, then they continued to live in the wilderness according to their own pleasures. Ultimately, they were conquered, and God ceased to speak to them for over 400 years before a Savior came. This Savior's work on the cross is meant to accomplish the same task: to free you for service.
It can be so tempting in this day and age to praise God only as your Father in Heaven, but will you also make him your Lord on Earth?
God has called you to this purpose. Don't live according to your own pleasures, nor according to worldly standards (James 4:4); don't allow yourself to be conquered by your temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13); but press on instead toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
You were not freed for death, but for life (John 10:10).