Summary: I think the problem most of us have with worship is that we’ve never made that “phone call” – the one where we seek to discover more about the One who has saved us. Many of us have a vague awareness that we’ve avoided hellfire, but we don’t feel any part
Worship: All or Nothing
A few years ago, a young lady had moved to London, England and had bought herself a nice little flat on the top floor of a tenant building to live in. She had brought her share of great dreams to the great city. But what happened next was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
The building that she had called home had caught on fire. All of the exits were cut off by the flames. The crowd on the street watched as this poor lady looked out her window, knowing that she only had few minutes left to live. About that time a ladder came up out of the smoke to her window and a brave fireman extended his hand to rescue this lady and carry her to safety.
But the story doesn’t end there. Once this young lady had recovered in the hospital, she called the fire department to find her rescuer. And over the phone she finally and generously expressed her gratitude. The two young people began to chat, and an on going friendship formed, and that friendship grew into love, and love led to marriage.
To this day she still tells people about how she knows she would not be alive if it were not for her husband saving her that day. But rescue and romance are two separate worlds. The fireman had become more than a lifesaver; he had become the object of adoration.
I think the problem most of us have with worship is that we’ve never made that “phone call” – the one where we seek to discover more about the One who has saved us. Many of us have a vague awareness that we’ve avoided hellfire, but we don’t feel any particular emotional attachment to out rescuer. Of course, we do give Him a call every now and then, whenever we need another rescue. “Help, Lord! I’m stuck in financial problems!” Or, “Lord, please get the ladder again, I’m out of work!” We see God as someone who answers 911 calls, slides down His silver pole from heaven and comes to rescue us from the flame and then disappears. We never take the step from salvation to adoration, from brief encounters to a deep relationship for everyday and every moment.
If you and I can’t imagine giving our lives in such a way, perhaps we need to have a deeper experience with the Man on the wooden ladder – the Man who stretched out His arms to show how much He loved us.
All of this brings us to a man named Abraham and the first worship.
I. First Worship (Gen. 18:2; 22:5)
a. Those who study the Bible in a serious way sometimes refer to the Law of First Mention.
i. It’s not so much a law, as a common principle in the Scriptures.
ii. If you select an important biblical word to study -- say worship -- you’ll find that its first biblical appearance sets the tone for all the richness of meaning that will emerge.
iii. The First mention gives us the essential picture.
b. So what of worship?
i. We initially find the word in Gen. 18.
ii. Abraham entertains three strangers who turn out to be the Lord and two angels.
iii. The Scripture says that when he saw them, he “bowed himself to the ground.”
iv. The Hebrew word for his action is the one that we recognize as worship, and it’s an essential understanding of the concept.
c. But the Scripture’s first mention of the word worship as we understand it in a more formal sense – the intentional act of worship – is found four chapters later.
i. Gen. 22:5, Abraham says, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship.”
ii. Abraham has climbed the mountain with his son, whom he intends to offer in sacrifice.
iii. Most of us recognize this story with a twinge of pain – one of the most gut wrenching accounts in all the Scriptures.
iv. God has allowed Abraham to wait for many years to have this child – not only his beloved seed of the promised nation – an now Abraham is asked to palace the boy on the altar and give him back to God.
d. How have you responded to life’s most frightening moments?
i. Those are the times that identify what we’re made of inside.
ii. At the very moment when Abraham’s horrible time is at hand, Abraham had called it worship.
iii. Can you imagine a more profound, more moving portrait of the power of faith?
e. It’s an all-or-nothing commitment – complete dedication.
i. There’s no way for us to be half-crucified with Christ.
ii. There’s no way to pick up half the cross and follow Him.