Saturday - August 7th
Scripture to Read Today: Genesis 22:1-18
"Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.
We will worship and then we will come back to you."
The first mention of the word "worship" in the Bible comes long after the stories of creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the Flood. The first time the word "worship" appears in the Bible is in Genesis 22:5 and the story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son to the Lord. For any modern reader, the story is uncomfortable and crazy.
God promises Abraham that we will make a great nation from his descendants and that from that nation, a redeemer who would bless all nations would come. God told Abraham and Sarah they would have a son. The promise came long after the elderly couple was beyond their childbearing years. And, that promise was not fulfilled for another 25 years after they received it.
When the promised child, Isaac, was a young teenager, God asked Abraham to go to the top of a mountain and sacrifice His only son to God. Again, a crazy request from God - that ultimately God did not require once Abraham's willingness to do so proved genuine. On the trip to the mountain top, Abraham told the servants traveling with them to stay at a location as He and his son went alone the rest of the way to make a sacrifice to God and worship Him. "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you" (Genesis 22:5).
God interrupted Abraham as he lifted a knife above his son. The Lord affirmed Abraham's trust. He provided an animal for sacrifice in place of Isaac. Again, not a typical story and not a pattern for any follower of God today.
With this first reference to worship in Scripture, we gain insight into a critical aspect of worship - letting go. Abraham expressed to the servants what He and His son would be doing. He emphasized that part of worship is an abandonment of self and all that is precious to us for God. Letting go isn't easy. It is the hardest part of the faith journey.
Just like Abraham, we let go of our dreams, wants, and expectations. We let go of how we want life to play out - even what we thought was a part of God's plan. As we let go, we embrace God. We believe that He knows what is best and trust Him with every twist, turn, and outcome of life.
Today as you worship in prayer, open your hands. Use the open hands physically as an expression of your posture spiritually in worship before God. Let go of the stuff, ideas, and people you hold onto most tightly. Instead, embrace God in praise and faith!
Letting go is a critical part of embracing God in worship!