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We Will Worship The Lord

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

The title for the lesson is: We will Worship and the text from the Word of God is Genesis chapter 22 and the first five verses. “Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham.’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, you only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’ Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’
Someone has said that we should wash our face every morning in a shower of praise or worship, because only a drop of praise is unsuitable as acknowledgment for such an ocean of mercy and grace from God. And so we should worship each and every day in a shower of praise. Enjoying or appreciating worship is not the same as actually worshipping the living God.

According to many surveys they indicate that about two thirds of regular attenders to worship services claim that they never or rarely experienced God’s presence at a church service or a worship service. How sad. A theologian on the subject of worship wrote these words, “Throughout the Bible when a worshipper encountered experienced worship of our most holy God their reaction was almost always the same. There was tremendous awe and reverence and full of humility as they worshipped. They were certainly never, ever bored.”

Let’s look closer at the very first explicit recorded use of the word worship in Scripture and see what we all can learn and put into practice regarding actually worshipping the living God, and that is in the text that we have just read in Genesis chapter 22 and the first five verses. And there we find the very first recorded explicit use of the word worship in Genesis 22 and verse five. We will worship.

In this passage the situation and the setting, according to verse one, is that God tested Abraham. Why? Well, God tests all of us to confirm our faith, our genuine faith and trust in him. But, oh, what a test. In verse two God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son whom you love. Sacrifice him as a burn offering.”
God forbid and God did forbid. It was a test, a test of faith. And can the clay tell the potter what and how to test? But I submit to you that in this passage in Genesis chapter 22 and the first five verses we can learn the central core, the essence of worship in Spirit and in truth, that we should all experience to truly worship the living God, whether under the Old Testament economy of burnt offerings or even today under the New Testament pattern, worshipping, the essence of worship of the living God.

In Genesis chapter 22 and verse three we find that it was early the next morning and we note Abraham’s prompt obedience even under such trying circumstances. God commanded and Abraham trusted and obeyed. To worship in spirit to the very inner core of our being is, first and foremost, to surrender, to submit ourselves in genuine humility and obedience, with faith, as we worship truly from our hearts, the center of our emotions, from our minds, the center of our thinking, from our wills, the center of our attitude, our motivations, seeking in awe and in adoration to be pleasing to God, to worship him from the inside out.

Now Abraham undoubtedly had all night to turn over in his mind God’s command. Abraham also knew that God’s will never ever contradicts God’s promise, a truth we also should never forget. And God’s promise to Abraham was, according to Genesis 21 and verse 12 that it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. And Abraham trusted God, that even if God allowed him to actually slay his son, God could raise Isaac from the dead. And, therefore, since God had already promised Isaac as the preeminent lineage of his descendants, God’s promise would come to pass, however God chose to do it. Now that is faith. And Abraham was a man of faith.

How do we know for sure that this was Abraham’s thinking? We know because it is recorded in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 19 where we find that Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead. And, figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Our mature faith does not demand explanations from God. Our faith rests on the promises and principles of God as revealed to us in the Bible.

 

So what does all of his have to do with worship? Genuine faith is central to worship in spirit and in truth.

Consider Genesis chapter 22 and verse five. Abraham’s instruction to his two servants who had accompanied them was to wait and we will worship and then we will come back to you. Abraham and the boy went on beyond them to worship. Note again Abraham’s faith in God which was so strong that he told his servants that he AND Isaac would return. Abraham’s worship was not just the burnt offering or the wood, these were just the externals. Notice “we” will worship. That includes Isaac.

In the entire passage of Genesis 22 there is no explicit evidence that Abraham’s son Isaac refused or rebelled. Now it is true, according to Genesis 22 and verse nine that he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar. But that is primarily due to the fire, to the flames, to secure him for sacrifice. No words came from Isaac after Abraham assured him in Genesis 22 and verse eight that God himself would provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. So both Abraham and Isaac worshipped the living God.

Now let’s make application to our worship today. Our worship service today has many externals. For example in formal assembly we worship in a church house or a chapel. We worship in song. We worship in prayer. We worship in remembrance around the Lord’s table. We worship as we hear and heed the Word of God, the words from the Bible. And all of these are very good and proper. But these also can be merely externals like the wood or the burnt offering. In the very first use of the word worship in Genesis chapter 22 and verse five consider, realizing that this was the Old Testament pattern. They didn’t worship in assembly. There were only two of them. They were not singing. They were not praying. They did not hear a sermon or a Scripture. And it was not about the position of the body or the hands. But they worshipped.

Worship needs to be an active verb. It is not just about the externals, whether the Old Testament pattern or the New Testament pattern. Worship needs to be, first and foremost, something that we experience and something that we do. We worship in spirit and in truth. Worship must begin internally with the heart, the mind, the will of the worshipper. In genuine faith and adoration and awe, a holy fear of the living God, we are singing and praying and remembering around the table and hearing and heeding Scripture. We experience personally and intimately from deep inside of us, in our inner being, worship in spirit. And it is genuine as we worship in truth. And Abraham and Isaac were genuine worshippers of the living God before they went to Mount Moriah. Worship has to begin with who we are.

Today it is in Christ, in awe, in adoration of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and it is aided by the presence and the persuasion and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can worship in spirit and in truth. And having a reverent, personal, intimate relationship with the living God in faith that brings worship regardless of the people around us, regardless of the preacher, the prayer or the praise leader begins within us. And it has to be in us even before we go anywhere for a formal worship assembly. It is who we are and what we do. And worship should be to the Christian, to the born again baptized believer, as breathing is to us physically. It should come to us automatically.

Genuine worship cannot be manufactured. Genuine worship cannot be manipulated. Genuine worship must be manifested in us, magnifying our Lord, because he is Lord. He owns us. We belong to him. He is our boss. And we submit ourselves to him in worship. And mature worship, really mature worship, does not even need externals. It is not really about the music or the message to inspire us. Mature worship realizes the presence of the living God, which should be reason enough to inspire us to worship him. God is the object of our worship.

I remember hearing a tremendous testimony years ago of a song or a worship leader of a mega church and he revealed these words, and I quote. “Not until God took my voice due to surgery on my vocal cords, because of my abuse of them, not until then when I could not sing, when I could not lead in worship, that is when I really learned to worship, because it was not about my vocal cords. It was not about my talent with music, but about my heart,” end quote.

And realize that even people that are handicapped, persons that are deaf or mute, or whatever their handicap, they can still worship. Even if there is no joyful noise, even if the outer senses are not able to be exercised physically, our senses should point back to our inner surrender in veneration, in homage, in honor of our creator. That is the essence of worship. Do you realize that even in silence before him, we can worship if our hearts and our minds and our wills are genuinely centered and focused on our Lord? Even silence can be worship.

 

For example, you know about or have heard of the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk. In chapter two and verse 20 where it tells us in part that all the earth be silent. This is a passage that has to do with worship as the Lord is in his holy temple. So many today are searching for the right church in order to worship when the ultimate right place to genuinely worship in spirit and in truth is within us. It is in our hearts. Our hearts should be hungering for the Lord. So many today claim that a worship assembly or worship service is boring and perhaps it is because they are just spectators, not worshippers. Think about it. If God is the object of our worship, we must ask ourselves, is God boring? Do we not sense his presence? Are we not seeking after him, searching for him, worshipping him? And what will we do in eternity if we are constantly bored in worship now? Because in eternity with the Lord, we will worship.

In Genesis chapter 22 and verse two Abraham was told to ‘take your son, you only son whom you love and go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice him there’. God substituted a ram for Isaac and spared the one and only son of Abraham. In Genesis 22 and verse 14 Abraham called that place Moriah, the Lord will provide. The Lord provided a ram for Abraham and Isaac, and thousands of years later the Lord provided a redeemer, Jesus Christ, our substitute. God, not sparing his one and only Son, whom he loves, redeemed us on the altar of the cross. He provided for us a ‘Moriah’. So let us worship him.

 

David Johnson is minister of Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8