Four Components to Genuine Worship (Devotion)
Worship is absolutely the act of singing praise, or verbally proclaiming God’s wonder and greatness; however, the first time God demonstrates an example of worship in His word has nothing to do with singing, instruments, chord progressions, or a catchy hook in the chorus. In fact, God asks Abraham to worship him by killing Isaac: Abraham’s only son.
God illustrates four components to genuine worship from Genesis 22. Those are:
1. Worship is a commandment
2. Worship is a heart attitude
3. Worship costs my life
4. Worship is a sacrifice.
Worship is a Commandment
God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac: Abraham’s only son. It is difficult, maybe impossible, to know what went through Abraham’s mind when God delivered that message. When Abraham and his servants arrive at Mount Moriah, he tells the servants to stay by the stuff while he and Isaac go worship. Abraham saw worship as a commandment because he was doing what God commanded him to do. Worship was not an option for Abraham despite the reality God’s command for worship would require Abraham to kill his only son. As worship leaders God has commanded us to worship because it is that important to God.
Worship is a Heart Attitude
Notice Abraham rose up in the morning and set out to do what God had commanded him. Worship is a heart attitude to fulfill the commands of God despite the incredible difficulty it may bring. Deep within Abraham’s heart dwelt a desire to please God. Abraham’s heart attitude drove him to obedience rather than rebellion, silence rather than rebuttal, and action rather than procrastination. For worship leaders, our performance is insignificant compared to our heart: our equipment inconsequential to the passion and attitude we possess for God. Great worship in a congregation is not facilitated by our songs, our talent, our performance, or our equipment. Great worship in a congregation is facilitated by our hearts.
Worship Costs Our Life
While Abraham was not slated to die, I imagine there was a death inside of his soul at the idea of killing and sacrificing his son. These three days are a similitude of the three days Christ spent in the grave before his resurrection. Consider the cost. Isaac might be the one to die physically, but Abraham’s death would be lived every day for the rest of his life. God’s first request for worship required the lives of two men. Isaac would be dead, and Abraham would never be the same. As leaders if our worship is not costing us something of value (not necessarily monetary), it very well might not be worship.
Worship is a Sacrifice
Abraham’s worship necessitated a large sacrifice. He planned to kill his only son as a burnt offering. This was his sacrifice to worship God. Isaac willingly submitted to this sacrifice by allowing himself to be strapped down and watch his father lift a knife with the intent to plunge into his body. This is more than giving three or four hours of practice time each week, and then showing up an hour early to church for sound. This is more than replacing strings or drum heads. Abraham’s worship required a permanent separation from his son whom he loved. Isaac’s worship required him to submit to his own slaughter. Their worship was genuinely a sacrifice.
Worship is a command to be obeyed without hesitation, without argument, and without complaint. Worship spills out from the depths of our hearts and leads congregations to praise God Almighty. Worship will cost something of value that is not necessarily related to money. Worship requires a sacrifice of our lives in pursuit of bringing adoration and exaltation to our God.
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