(This is the second installment in a three-part series on the subject of worship, taken from Gerry's book, In Pursuit of His Glory: A Quest to Know the Power and Presence of God.)
For me to find fulfillment and completion in life I must know the Lord, and I can only know the Lord to the extent I choose to worship Him. In Revelation 4 and 5 we hear the great songs of the angels, the elders and the saints singing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come. You are worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will (and for Your purpose) they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
This is the worship going on in heaven before the throne of God and the Lamb. As it says in Revelation 5, starting with verse 9, they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
And then the vast throng in heaven began to say with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And in verse 13, you finally hear the worship chorus proclaiming:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Worship is the priority of heaven! It must be the priority of the church on earth! It must be the priority of every believer!
Worship means to present my body as a living sacrifice. Paul appealed to us in Romans 12:1, “by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable worship [or service].” The word “body” here means our total being, our whole life. Worship is the willingness to totally lay down my life on the altar and be consumed by Christ.
The first time the word “worship” is used in the Bible is in Genesis 22:5. Obviously, people worshipped from the days of Abel to Abraham, but when a word is first used in God’s divine revelation of Himself to us, it is significant to note how it is used. We find the word “worship” used by Abraham as he goes in obedience to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Remember, Isaac was the son of promise. God’s covenant was to be established through Isaac, the son born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age according to God’s promise. What love Abraham had for this young lad who was not only his son, but the heir of the promises that the Most High had given to him. What delight filled Abraham and Sarah as they watched this beloved son grow up before them. But then God tested Abraham and we read in Genesis 22:2, “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.”
Abraham immediately obeys the voice of God and journeys to Moriah, arriving on the third day. The two young men that he had taken with him he now leaves at the foot of Mount Moriah and he takes Isaac with him and says: “I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” There on the top of the Mount, Abraham binds his son on the altar and stretches forth the knife to slay his son. But then God speaks from heaven and says to Abraham: “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.” Worship is measured here by the edge of a knife! Worship is purely expressed at the point of greatest sacrifice!
True worship flows out of giving myself and everything that I have and placing it on the altar of total commitment to God. Abraham chose to walk in the fear of the Lord as he gave reverential obedience to the Lord of heaven. Abraham calls this worship, and out of this experience he receives the revelation that God is Jehovah-Jireh, “The-Lord-Will-Provide.” As Abraham worshipped God, he came to know God in a new way. You can be sure he was never the same.