Thursday, January 3, 2008

Worship- Part 1

I know I have shared that I am reading My Heart's Desire by Dr. David Jeremiah. To say that it has had a fairly significant impact on me, would be putting it mildly.

In Genesis 22:1-19 we read how Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac. If you are like me, you have probably read this a dozen times or more. What I didn't know is that in verse 5, the first use of the word "worship" as we know it occurs. The Hebrew word used in Genesis 22:5 is shachah, meaning to "...prostrate (espec. reflex. in homage to royalty or Go): - bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship" (Strong's Concordance).

If I am completely honest, I must admit that if God had asked me to sacrifice my only child if worship would be the first thing on my mind. There are a lot of times, if I am honest, that I don't feel like worshiping God at all. Let me share some of what I read this week from My Heart's Desire.
Worship comes as a command, not a suggestion...Worship comes not as the fruit of our impulse, felt need, or creativity; it is the specific command of God. Worship is God's idea. It comes from the depths of His heart with the fullness of His passion. The very beginning of our journey into the depths of knowing God is marked by His voice calling us to come and worship.

Robert E. Webber has written a helpful book entitled Worship Is a Verb. When I came across that striking title in a bookstore, I was intrigued. Webber's thesis is that worship isn't a feeling or a thought process. It's something much greater that a mere emotion. Worship, he says, is an activity we pursue in obedience to God's directive. It is far from passive, but something in which we participate wholeheartedly, something we can do every moment of every day.
We were all made to worship God. It is part of who we are. If we don't worship Him, something else will become the object of our worship.

I can't allow my feelings and my emotions to interfere with my worship. As Dr. Jeremiah reminded me this week, "The very beginning of our journey into the depths of knowing God is marked by His voice calling us to come and worship."


Meems said...

Thanks for sharing this, Jane.

I think what I love most about Gen22:5 is the faith of Abraham when he says "we will go worship and come again to you." He knew he was going to return with his son. He knew God had it figured out.

Worship is born in every heart as we receive God as Savior. To me it is letting go of all I am and think I am and totally focusing on God and who HE is. In turn I am set free from all that hinders as I allow the Holy Spirit to have His way.

No place on earth than in God's presence!

Meems said...

oops.. that last line was supposed to say-

No better place on earth than in God's presence.

MLM said...


(Happy belated bday by the way)...I was reading your post and thought about something I read last night in the Bible, something I'd never heard of or seen before. Seems there was a judge of Israel (I can't remember his name right now or the chapter I was reading). But this guy was from Gilead. His father was Gilead, but his mother was a harlot. Therefore, all the sons of the "wife" kicked him out and banished him from Gilead. Well, then came some enemies and everyone went to find this guy since he was the biggest warrior in town. They told him he could rule Israel if he came and fought the enemy and beat them. Then the dude decides to make this horribly tragic vow to the Lord. Like, "Lord, if you enable me to win against Ammon (I think it was), I will sacrfice to you a burnt offering of whatever first approaches me as I return home from battle." I assume the guy thought a cow or sheep was gonna walk up first, but it was his only child...a daughter celebrating her father's victorious return. After giving her two-months to mourn her demise, he indeed sacrificed her to the Lord.

We always hear about Abraham and Isaac. I've always wondered why God would ask such a thing, even as a test. Maybe Abraham wasn't too taken aback by it? At any rate, we never hear about the father who DID sacrifice his only child to the Lord. Just made me think...and understand more fully the command to not utter rash promises to the Lord.

Jane said...

Meems- Good point with the "come again" portion of the verse. One of my next posts has to do with being "set free from all that hinders". Which is a good reminder that I need to get that one finished. Oh and I read that last line just like you intended it. I had to double check when I read your second comment.

MLM- As I read your comment I began trying to remember if I had read that as well. It almost took your entire explanation before I remembered that I have read it. (Don't feel bad, recently I ready 3/4 of a 500 page book before remembering that I had already read it!)

If I am correct, (and I had to look it up) you are talking about Jephthah in Judges 11.

I also wondered why God asked this of Abraham. Dr. Jeremiah explained it like this, "Abraham had to come to the altar completely as he was, questions and all. 'Here I am Lord," he must have said. 'I don't understand. I'm not without deep fear and misgivings. But obedience is my true sacrifice. It's obedience that I lay on this stone before you. Obedience and trust. You will never fail in Your promise, and I must never fail in my obedience.' Abraham laid all these things on that altar. He laid down his questions, his confusion, and his emotions. He laid down his faith and his obedience. It was all a test of priorities, to reveal what finally stood, what Abraham would cling to when all else was stripped violently away..."

I don't know if that is why, but I do know that God asked this of Abraham and he was obedient. In Jephthah made the vow, it wasn't asked of him. While I think you definitely hit the nail on the head when you wrote we should "not utter rash promises to the Lord" you do have to give Jephthah some credit...he too was obedient. It's my opinion that the difference is the God initiated the scenario with Abraham. Jephthah put himself in that situation. But again, you are right in the fact that this is definitely the lesser known account.

Just a couple of thoughts...