Posted on Fri, Oct 5, 2007
By Pastor Charles CowanPart 1 - THE CALL TO WORSHIP: "What is Worship?" by Pastor Charles Cowan And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the donkey; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. ~ Genesis 22:3-5 What is worship? When you read what Abraham said, " the lad and I will go yonder and worship ", he was going to kill his son at the altar. He was prepared to take his life. There is a great lesson here to learn about worship. Abraham was willing to give God the very best that he had without question. I've just told you what worship is. You can run, jump, and shout, as long as you are giving God the very best that you have. You have to understand at this point, Abraham is a covenant man and he understood covenant principles. He understood that it was necessary to love God with all of his heart and be willing to give back to God the very things that were the most precious to him. He was willing to give back to God anything that God asked that Abraham possessed. This is what Abraham was doing when he took Isaac to the summit of the mountain. He called it worship. You may say am I teaching that you shouldn't run, jump, and shout. Well, if running, jumping, and shouting grew big churches we'd be big. This is not necessarily worshipping God. Although there are times when the Spirit of God moves, those things happen. We should be sure that we are giving God our best. If we are not, Jesus said this is not a true worshiper. Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees, " You worship me in vain. " " I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you. " At this point, Abraham was acting in obedience to God's command without question. Without question! You'll never find one time in the bible where it said Abraham questioned God about this command. He never put out a fleece, he never asked anybody to pray for him, or pray about it with him. Not one time. When God spoke it to him and told him what to do, he immediately prepared himself to do exactly what God commanded him to do. He called it worship. Jesus said in John 4:23-24, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. " This is what Abraham is doing. He is giving his all and giving whatever God asks for. " Take now 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. " Genesis 22:2 Abraham immediately did this because he had that deep respect and reverence for God. Abraham loved God and so he didn't question him when God asked him for his very best. He and God called it worship. Until a person is ready to give God their very absolute best, then anything that we substitute for worship is vain. It's not called true worship. God called Isaac Abraham's only son, even though he had another child. After the miracle of getting Isaac on the scene, God reached into Abraham's life and asked Abraham for the most prized possession that he had. When Abraham willingly gave it, God recognized that he was truly worshiping him. When God recognized worship, every blessing of the Abrahamic covenant flowed out of God to Abraham because he worshiped him. He gave him his very best. He gave him, Isaac, his most prized possession. With this event, Abraham passed the test. It was here God knew that he had Abraham's heart. Look in Genesis 22:12 " And He said, " Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me. " God was saying, " Now I know you are willing to worship me and reverence me with the very best that you have. Abraham, you passed the test. " In light of what Jesus said in John 4:24, anytime we hold something back from God that he has instructed us to do in is word and that this truth asks us to present and give to God, it doesn't matter how many times you raise your hands, how high you jump, or how fast you run....the worship is in vain. God is looking for the best. God gave his best. He expects no less out of us. Amen. So Abraham reverenced God. His willingness to offer Isaac was an outward manifestation of an inward deep respect and love for reverencing God. God called it worship. Look in Gen 22:15-17 " Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: " By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son " blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. " God is about to tell Abraham something that he's already told him once. Abraham passed the test of true worship. That's the question we should ask ourselves: have we passed the test of true worship? Or, do we have our man made methods? What was this thing that Abraham did? The standard answer is that Abraham offered Isaac. God was saying to Abraham, " Because you have been willing to worship me with everything that you possess and you have not withheld your son, in blessing I will bless thee." Covenant promises will flow out of worship. I'm telling you people, covenant promises will come our way when we learn how to be true worshipers and give reverence, deep regard and respect for God to the point that we give him everything that we have when he calls for it. Then the covenant blessing will begin to flow.