Whenever the Bible introduces a concept for the first time, there is significance in it. The first time worship is introduced is an unexpected context. It is found in Genesis 22 when Abraham is about to take his only son, Isaac, to the top of a mountain to sacrifice him.
“And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’”
If you’re not familiar with this story from the Bible, I encourage you to read the entire chapter. But this story started long before this moment. You see God had promised to make Abraham the father of many nations. Isaac was his only son and the fulfillment of that promise. The Bible tells us that Abraham loved Isaac very much. In fact, all of Abraham’s hopes and dreams rested on this young man. This was not just his son, but the physical embodiment of God’s promise realized in his life.
We know God’s purpose in the request for sacrifice of Isaac was for Abraham to prove that he trusted the Almighty God implicetly. Spoiler alert! God did stop the sacrifice and provided a ram to replace the boy. But Abraham didn’t know the end of the story. Can you imagine that moment? Preparing to hike up a mountain to kill your son (as if that’s not a fast track to a therapist’s couch) but also the future legacy God has promised.
And that is the moment God uses to introduce us to the term “worship.” Abraham told the men accompanying them that they were going to worship and would return when they finished. I don’t believe he was a man who lied regularly. Conversely, he couldn’t say, “Hey, we’re going to climb this mountain so I can murder my son. Be back in a jif!” Abraham used the term “worship” for a reason. He knew his mission was to put God first.
That is what worship is. Whether referencing worship in song or worship as a lifestyle, worship means putting God first. But take it a step further. Worship is sacrificing the thing that is most important to us. Worship is setting aside what we value most in that moment and giving God his rightful place as first in our lives. In fact, the Hebrew word in this scripture means “to bow down, to give reverence.”
Take the time to give God reverence and acknowledge him as first in your life whether in song or choices throughout the day. Are you willing to be obedient and sacrifice your will, ideas and plans for the future? Whatever the thing that is most important to you right now… give it to God.