The Israelites had labored under the harshness of Egyptian rule for over 400 years. They had cried out to God for rescue, and God had heard their cries. But, when He sent Moses to exhort their freedom from the pharaoh, God gave one simple reason:
“Let My people go so that they may worship Me.”
Years later, the people of Judah were faced with a similar situation. After spending 70 years in captivity again, this time under Babylon and Persia, God heard their cries. This time, however, the king did not need a series of terrifying plagues to let God’s people go. Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, released them of his own accord so that they could rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and, most important, so that they could worship their God. He even furnished the temple with all of the artifacts that had once adorned Solomon’s Temple.
In both situations, God’s people were freed from captivity for a purpose: they were to leave their comfort zones and worship Him. Their comfort zones, positions of slavery, were not ideal, but they still struggled to move beyond them. Worship offers freedom, but it also demands sacrifice.
David once remarked, “I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing.” There is always a cost involved, but worship is always worth the price. It brings us out of bondage and into the presence of God. It is through our worship where shackles fall and we walk into the freedom only God can give.