Summary: If you want to truly worship God, obey without delay, give without limits, and receive without fail.
Dad was driving his family home from church one Sunday when he heard his 16-year-old son saying, “The sermon was boring today.”
His sister chimed in. “Yea, could you believe how the pastor stumbled over the reading of the Scripture?” she said.
Mother replied, “I’ve got to admit it was an uninspiring day. The choir was terrible.”
That’s when dad jumped in and said, “Hush, you guys. Quit complaining. What did you expect for a dollar?”
I’m afraid that’s the way some people look at worship. They put their dollar into the offering plate and hope to be entertained. Only we in evangelical circles call it “getting blessed.” But is that what worship is all about? Getting blessed, because we show up on Sunday morning? My friends, worship is so much more than that.
Gordon Dahl writes, “Worship is the full commitment of one's life to God. But we have made our work the primary dimension of our lives, so it is little wonder that we experience worship as little more than an occasional pious exercise...” In fact, Gordon Dahl says, “Most middle class Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted, their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.” (Gordon Dahl, Work, Play and Worship in a Leisure-Oriented Society, Augsberg Press, 1972)
Wow! Doesn’t that describe our culture today even though he wrote that more than 40 years ago? My dear friends, we don’t have a political problem in our country today. We don’t have an economic problem. We don’t even have a security problem. We have a spiritual problem; and unless we learn how to truly worship God, we will continue our downward spiral into absolute and total chaos no matter who wins the election this fall.
So how do we do truly worship God? How do we respond to Him in a way that demonstrates He is worth more than anything else to us? How do we make that full commitment of our lives to Him? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 22, Genesis 22, where Abraham shows us how.
Genesis 22:1-2 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He 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.” (ESV)
God had already told Abraham to send his other son away. Now, God tells Abraham to sacrifice the only son he has left. In fact, God says, “Offer him as a burnt offering”; and according to Leviticus 1, a burnt offering is wholly consumed by the fire. There is nothing left except the ashes, which are blown away by the wind.
Do you know what God is asking Abraham to do? God is asking Abraham to give up the dearest thing in all the world to him, and to give him up so totally that there is absolutely nothing left even to remember him by. Don’t read this as a disinterested Bible student 4,000 years later. Read this is a father, whose heart bleeds for his son. God is asking Abraham to give up his only son forever!
Genesis 22:3 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. (ESV)
Can you believe it? Abraham does exactly what God tells him to do. Abraham obeys God without question AND without delay. He gets up “early in the morning” to carry out God’s instructions. I don’t know about you, but I would have waited a day or two, at least. Not Abraham. He obeys God right away, not when it’s convenient, not when he feels like it, but as soon as he possibly can.
Genesis 22:4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. (ESV)
The place where he is to sacrifice his son. How can he do it? How can he obey such an unthinkable command?
Genesis 22:5 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.” (ESV)
Did you notice Abraham said, “I and the boy… will come again to you”? Somehow, Abraham fully expects to return with his son, after they had both worshipped the Lord.