When you read that word, what mental picture did you receive?
Hymns with an orchestra, or choir, or organ, or any combination?
Loud rock-ish music from group of people on a platform?
This series is designed to help you understand what true worship is. Let’s start by reading the first passage that mentions worship:
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. Gen 22:1-10 (ESV)
(Mount Moriah, by the way, was the site of the original Temple (2 Chronicles 3:1).)
God gave Isaac to Abraham when he was about 100 years old. God had made many promises to Abraham, and it was through his son Isaac that those promises were kept – the land, the nation and the lineage that stretched to Jesus Himself. Abraham must have been terrified when he first heard God tell him to sacrifice Isaac, but he had faith that God would not allow his son to die.
Look at the offering God told Abraham to make. A burnt offering is described in Leviticus 1. It was voluntary. Everything except the skin was to be placed on the altar, and God considered it a soothing aroma. When the person making the sacrifice laid his hand on the head of the sacrifice, it was accepted as atonement for sin.
I’ve always seen Isaac as the one with the most faith. He was, after all, the one who was tied on the pile of wood. But he trusted his earthly father because Abraham trusted his Heavenly Father.
If you have the opportunity, read Leviticus 1:1-9 to see the parallels to both Abraham’s sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus.
Today we’ve learned that worship is an act of obedience, and in Abraham and Isaac’s case, it was also an act of faith. On Wednesday we will receive more insight into this original act of worship. But today, take a moment to ask God if you need to lay anything on the altar – any sin, action, thought – that might keep you from a place of authentic worship.
See you Wednesday!