Let me start with the Israelites...
We see God commanding the people to consecrate their firstborn children. Here were their requirements:
- Make bread without yeast.
- Get rid of all yeast. All of it.
All firstborn males had to be redeemed. This was done by sacrificing the firstborn sheep and goats. If you had a donkey, you could switch it for a sheep. But if you didn't, God wanted you snapping the neck of your donkey. I have to wonder if that would cause the other donkeys to lose trust in you. Perhaps they would be a little nervous when they saw you come around again.
Nevertheless, this is how the Israelites prepared for worship.
A typical Sunday morning for my family looks nothing like this. The most preparation came when they were younger. This involved us throwing them in the bath, whether they needed it or not. (I'll let you in on a little secret; they needed it.)
There are the cries of having nothing to wear that's nice. There are searches for dress shoes, since they've disappeared since the previous Sunday. There are attempts (and failures) at sneaking out of the house in less-than-expected dress. There's breakfast being eaten and those little eye-boogers being removed. Then smiles are demanded, so that it looks like we haven't fought before going to worship Jesus.
Sometimes we are as prepared as we look, sometimes not.
But here's the catch. When God set this up for the Israelites, He also was looking forward.
“And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery." ~Exodus 13:14
Have you ever had your kids (or maybe your spouse) ask you why we have to go to church every week? I think I have a new answer for my family. ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery."