By Kristen Carden
Todays post comes from an amazing fellow blogger. Her heart for worship pours through her work. Thanks for the post Kristen and I hope you all enjoy it!!
Worship in the Word
Worship. When we think of that word in our modern world we tend to think of rooms of people, songs, instruments, and singing. Why wouldn’t we? We’ve grown up in a church culture where times of singing are labeled “praise and worship”.
Recently I helped plan a worship team event where we played a game of “Worship Jeopardy” (I’ll link it at the end of this post). My favorite part of prepping for the game was researching for our “Worship in the Word” category. As much as we’ve let culture tell us what worship is, the Bible gives us the first actual example of it.
The first time the word “worship” is mentioned in the word, it looks different than we might expect. Abraham has taken his only son Isaac to sacrifice on a mountain as God commanded.
GENESIS 22:2-6 “He (God) 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.” 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. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 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.” 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.
When Abraham says he and Isaac are going to “worship”, according to the Hebrew language he is saying they will go there and “bow down”. In that moment, the first moment we ever see the word in the Bible, we are seeing sacrifice, obedience, and bowing down. It’s so refreshing to go back to basics, back to the simple truth of what worship is. It’s our response. Response to who God is, what He has asked of us, and what He’s done.
When we go back to see what the Bible says about worship, we realize we’ve put it in a box. We’ve made it smaller than it is. Look at Abraham and his sacrifice of worship, see the big picture of what God has called us to do in this act of “worship”. He’s asking what He always asks for … our hearts, our lives, willingness to lay down our own desires and put Him in the highest place.
In this story we’ve talked about today, there’s one element that stands out to me … the fact that Abraham was making a sacrifice in the first place, and this wasn’t the first time He set out to do it. Maybe it’s how much time I’ve spent in the new testament in recent years, but reading through stories in the old testament reminds us of what people had to do to gain access to God. How sweet to think that when we approach God in worship now, we have ACCESS. The veil was torn in the temple.
Let’s remember that as we go about our days, that worship is our response to a God who has given all, including access to his very self.
(For those of you interested in playing “Worship Jeopardy”- you can check it out HERE super fun to play with a group!)
Kristen Carden is worship leader in San Antonio, Texas, and currently works for her church in worship team development. She runs the blog worshipwithabandon.com in hopes to equip and inspire people to “worship like they were made to”. Her greatest passion in life is to share the truth of who God is, believing that the Word informs our worship. Recently married to her husband Jason, their hobbies include trying new restaurants, working on their house, and spending time with friends and family.
Worship Jeopardy sounds fun for a team night. Abraham’s sacrifice was definitely an act of worship, and a decision he had to make: who will he worship? God, or Isaac, so to speak? After so many years of being childless and then finally having his prayer answered, it was easy for him to make Isaac into an idol that he could easily elevate over God. Tim Keller discusses this at length in his book “Counterfeit gods”. It’s easy also for us to make other things long-hoped for into idols and to inadvertently end up worshipping them instead of God.
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Very true! I haven’t read that yet. I’ll have to add it to my list, for sure!
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