Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, You stay here with the ass. I and the boy will go over there that we may worship and may return to you.
Genesis 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac; and he took the fire and the knife in his hand. And the two went together.
A primitive root; to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): - bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
The first time this word is used is a few chapters before in Genesis 18. But this is the first time Shaw-khaw is translated worship. Shaw-khaw. Notice that Abraham takes wood and fire and the knife and the two went together to Moriah (Mo-ree-yaw). Moriah means “Chosen by God.” Does that just make chills run up your arms? This mountain that Abraham and Isaac are going to offer sacrifice on is the same mountain where Old Jerusalem stands. The same mountain that David bought in order to build God’s Temple and where Solomon built the Temple. It is the same mountain where Jesus died on the cross. Wood, fire and a knife – the cross, judgment and that which draws blood and gives food for sustenance – life – an illustration that we don’t have time to investigate further but can’t just be passed over.
Now look a few verses above that in 22:1. Abraham is being tested. We see here that Abraham is a man of few questions of God. He obeyed. He remembered what God had promised about Isaac so he didn’t fear and he obeyed God without question. He and the boy would go over yonder and worship and return to them, the servants.
What an incredible testimony of faith and worship. He obeyed God no matter the apparent cost.
In the Old Testament, the people bowed low to worship most of the time. What does that literally mean, to bow down or to bow low? Let’s consider this for a moment. If we are proud of something, what is our stance? Standing up straight, chest out, neck back, arms wide sometimes. When we are bragging on our children, grandchildren, husband …. Fill in the blank, we are proud…stiff-necked… focused on “me”, “my” and “mine”. Right?
Here is the problem with that focus; it is inward and earthly. But, when we bow our heads and bow down, we are in the perfect position to take on the yoke of possession of God. Taking on that yoke is part of belonging to Him. It is submission. It is acknowledging that God is greater and higher and mightier than “me”, “my”, “mine”. Idols are earthly things. When we have an earthly focus we leave out God.
Exodus 15 –The word Worship is not used in this chapter, but…
The Children of Israel have just crossed the Red Sea God told Moses to stretch out his hand for the waters to close over the Egyptians. They are saved! And find much about God to worship, but that word is not used here. So why am I mentioning it here? We’ll explore that in just a minute, but keep this passage in mind or put something there as a place marker because we can’t skip over it. Moses is so eloquent in his song to glorify God. He says that “Jehovah is my strength and song. He was to me salvation; this is my God and I will glorify Him; the God of my father and I will exalt Him.”
How sweet the sound of that! Glory! This is a refrain we find all through Scripture from David and Isaiah… Jehovah is my strength and song, He is my refuge, He is my God. Look at verse 11 in Exodus 15, Who is like You among the gods, O Jehovah? Who is like You, glorified in holiness, fearful in praises, O Worker of wonders? Glory! Doesn’t it just make you want to fall down?
Exodus 33 is an interesting chapter. Moses sets up the Tabernacle tent far outside the camp. If anyone was seeking God, they went to the Tabernacle. God tells the people that He won’t go up among them because He just might consume them (literally to kill them) because they are a stiff-necked people. Proud. Foolish. Disobedient by making a gold calf to worship after God had specifically told them in Exodus 20 they were to have no other gods before Him. Many lost their lives over that escapade. This is an example of how not to act and the consequences of worshipping idols instead of the One True God.
The people had to worship at a distance from God. In Exodus 33:10, when the people saw the cloud descend, all of them would "arise" and worship, each man in his tent door, when the cloud descended to the tent. Why not gather together? Why each man in his own tent door? We see in the preceding chapter of Exodus 32, we see why. The people had made a golden calf to worship which deeply angered God and Moses. They could go individually to the Tabernacle to seek God and to sacrifice, but not corporately unless God called them all together.
There is more involved in worship than a bent neck or knee because worship begins in the heart attitude, not the body's posture.
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