We all worship something more than anything else. We bow to, yield to, and go out of our way to be with or gain access to an activity, object, place, person or people. We spend most of our time thinking about whatever or whoever it is.
So what do you and I worship?
The word worship is first used in the Bible by Abraham in Genesis 22:5 during the account of God telling Abraham to sacrifice His son Isaac as a test (Gen 22:1). The chapter begins with the words "Some time later..." (NIV). So, we need to know what happened before "some time later"came along.
We go back to Chapter 21 where we read about the birth of Isaac. God's promise to give an heir to Abraham and Sarah had finally come about 14 years after the elderly patriarch and his wife took matters into their own hands. The bible tells us they tried to fulfill God's promise through Abraham having a child with Sarah's maidservant, Hagar. Abraham and Sarah wanted a child and was promised one, but they worshiped the promise instead of the God who gave it to them. They wanted what they wanted, and they wanted it now. I find it interesting that when Isaac was finally born, there's no mention of Abraham or Sarah giving thanks to God for coming through on what He said He would do.
After the birth of Isaac, Hagar's son, Ishmael and Hagar were sent away by Abraham at the request of Sarah because she believed Hagar to be mocking her and the new baby. Sarah was again worshiping her promise. As Sarah did say, Ishmael was not to be the child God would use to build a nation.. yet he was still blessed by God. (see Gen 21:8-20).
The end of Genesis 21 tells us that Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time (20:34). Then chapter 22 starts in the NIV with "Some time later." Other translations say "After these things." There's no way to tell just how much time has passed. We only know it was a long time. Maybe long enough for Abraham to start worshiping something other than God. Could it be he began to worship Isaac? Did Abraham spoil his son? Later in Genesis we learn that Isaac favored one of his sons over another. He likely learned that behavior from somewhere. Throughout his life Abraham followed God. He made some bad decisions by giving in to fear and not trusting the LORD. But he always went where he was led. Could it be that Abraham had stopped following God after he received his promise?
God tells Abraham to “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Gen 22:2) Abraham obeys.
They travel three days and get to the mountain and that's when Abraham tells the servants who are with them, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” (verse 5) Abraham chooses the word worship to describe what will be done, which is to bow down, lay down, sacrifice a part of himself to the LORD.
I believe that Abraham had gotten the message before he left. I notice here that he didn't argue with God. He chose to believe God's promise of having descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand on the seashore (Gen 22:17) . He told his servants that WE will come back (Gen 22:5) fully expecting Isaac and him to survive the test. So Abraham worshiped by obeying God's instructions to lay down the son he loved. Then through the father's obedience, the son was spared.
There is a beautiful foretelling picture here. It's mind blowing to know that God the father did not spare His Son Jesus whom He loves, and that it was the Son who obeyed to the point of death to be the sinless sacrificial offering for us. Now, through that sacrifice we have the power and freedom to give up those things that hinder us from being in the presence of God in worship.
I've read this story numerous times and get something new every time. Today I hear God's voice telling me to increase my faith and confidence of Him. Offer up what I love and go to Him and worship.