Worship

(From the notes of Hector Alves (1896 – 1978))

“I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you,”
Genesis 22.5.

In Abraham’s words, spoken as he approached Mount Moriah to offer his son there, we find what worship is and when we worship. While it is true that in chapter 18 he bowed down to the ground before three messengers, our verse is the first use of the word worship in the Scriptures. The “law of first mention” is important. We will always find something concerning our subject in the first time that it is mentioned.

Worship is the exercise of our priesthood. We are built up “a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 2.5. It is a matter of the heart rather than the head. However, it ought to be done in an intelligent manner.

Prayer is not worship. Ministry of the Word is not worship. Service for God is not worship. Worship is not defined anywhere in the Scripture. We associate it with the term worth.  Abraham did not go to Moriah with the express purpose of singing a hymn, or to praise God, although these activities may be expressions of our worship.

We worship in the Breaking of Bread meeting, but it is not the only opportunity for worship in the Christian’s life. No indication is given as to when we take the bread and the cup, and no set form of words is prescribed in the Word of God, but worship leads up to that point in our gathering.

That worship is giving to God, is amply confirmed in other parts of the Scriptures. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name,” Psalm 29.2. The wise men in Matthew 2 fell down and worshipped, opening their treasures and presenting gifts to the Child (the first mention of worship in the New Testament). When Abraham made this present to God, he gave what he had received from God. All of us know that he got Isaac directly from God as a promised gift. Now he is going to give Isaac back to God, and that is called worship.

We might call worship the overflow of the heart’s appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, if we got nothing from God from Monday to Saturday, what can we give Him on Sunday? That which occupies us on Saturday night will affect our worship on Lord’s Day morning.

Mary sat at His feet. That is worship. Later we find that same Mary at Bethany, pouring ointment over the Lord’s feet. The house was filled with its odour. I will mention that the seraphims of Isaiah 6 had six wings. With two they buried their faces; with two they covered their feet; with two they flew. That is worship and then service. I question whether one who does not worship is fit for service.

Four features of heavenly worship are brought before us in Revelation 5.6 to 9. (1) “Thou art worthy” — the worshippers were occupied with the worth of Christ. (2) “a Lamb as it had been slain” – they remembered His suffering and shame. (3) “redeemed us to God” – they had been blessed, and God received the glory. (4) they “fell down before the Lamb” —  in Old Testament language, they were inside the veil, shut in with Him and Him alone. Let us learn from these four clauses something of what becomes us in worship.

Finally, in our verse, “[I will] come again to you.” So it is with the gifts which we give to God. We never give Him anything that He does not give back with increase. Abraham offered Isaac and God gave him a seed more abundant than the stars of heaven and the sand of the seashore.

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