Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Yonder To Worship"

    The first mention of worship in the Bible beautifully illuminates the subject, while also raising one of the most interesting questions in Scripture. 

    "And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of...  And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Genesis 22:2; 5).

    God calls Abraham to act against the strongest possible natural inclination - fatherly love - for the purpose of acting according to the strongest possible supernatural inclination - love for the Father.  Would Abraham worship the God who made Isaac, or the Isaac made by God?  Would he worship the creature or the Creator? (Romans 1:25).  We know the answer.  Abraham determined that devotion and faithfulness to God transcends all other loves.  Moreover, he trusted God that somehow both he and Isaac would return from Mount Moriah together.  "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac... accounting that God was able to raise him from the dead, from which also he received him in a figure" (Hebrews 11:17; 19).  Herein we discover the primary components of genuine worship, namely, faith in the living and true God, and subsequent consecration to His glory and will at whatever sacrifice (accounting, for New Testament believers, that God has raised His Son from the dead).
    How did Abraham know that God would raise Isaac from the dead, as the writer of Hebrews declares?  The Genesis account does not tell us.  The epistle to the Romans does.  "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).  God told his servant that Isaac would be resurrected.  He just chose not to include this detail in Genesis (a prime example of the importance of allowing Scripture to interpret and illuminate Scripture).  Thereby the Lord made possible Abraham's decisive consecration by an even more decisive promise, thus leading to His servant's confidence, faith, and obedience.  This is worship.  God reveals Himself to us in His Word, promising His involvement and supernatural action on our behalf.  We respond in faith, choosing to act in accordance with His will, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit, and at whatever cost.  The Lord then faithfully fulfills His promise, resulting in His Word and our worship revealing that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed risen from the dead.

     The first mention of worship in the Bible tells us that the matter concerns a risen son.  The details will vary in countless ways.  But the questions will be the same.  Is the Lord Jesus risen from the dead?  Is He the promise and provision for every matter and moment of our lives?  Can we thus cast ourselves with complete abandon into the glory and will of God with the assurance that resurrection will in some blessed manner follow every sacrifice?  When we answer "Yes" to these questions, we worship.  More importantly, the risen Son shines upon our world in the same beauty of holiness that shines forth from the pages of Scripture, and from the heart of a man who long heard and believed the Word of God...

"I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again unto you."
(Genesis 22:5)
"The Lord is risen indeed."
(Luke 24:34)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
(II Corinthians 5:1)

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