Worshiping God

“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” (Genesis 22:5)

We tend to think of “worship” as singing, or testimonies, or hearing a message. This could hardly be the meaning in our text, however, for Abraham was intending to offer Isaac on a sacrificial altar in accordance with God’s command. Furthermore, Isaac was willing to be offered. “They went both of them together” (vv. 6, 8). Isaac, in fact, was not just a little boy at this time. The word “lad” in our text is the same word as “young men” in the same verse.

The first time the Hebrew word for “worship” is used is in Genesis 18:2. When Abraham saw three men approaching (later revealed as the Lord and two angels), he “bowed himself toward the ground.” Thus, “worship” means, essentially, “bow down” in obedience to the will of the one deserving “worship.”

Abraham’s supreme act of worship, however, was his willingness even to sacrifice his beloved son, if God’s will so required. He trusted so fully in God that he knew “God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19), and so he could tell his two servants that he and Isaac would “come again to you.” No wonder Abraham is called “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11). He was, indeed, “strong in faith” (v. 20).

The New Testament Greek word for “worship” also means essentially to bow down to God’s will. It occurs first when the wise men came to King Herod seeking the infant Savior, saying: “We . . . are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). As long ago a great man on Earth bowed down to the three from heaven, so now these great men on Earth with their three precious gifts bow down to One from heaven, the One who alone is worthy of true worship. HMM

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