Genesis 22: How to Go Yonder and Worship
“Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5)
Worship is an integral part of our relationship with God. Our word worship comes from the old English word “worthship”—to consider something worthy of attention. The Greek word most often used for worship carries with it the idea “to kiss toward,” signifying a sense of love and devotion directed at an object. In our case, that object is God.
In Genesis 22, God directed Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Of course, we know God never intended Abraham to actually carry out this direction; it was a test of his devotion, which he passed with flying colors. But, verse 5 tells us that Abraham considered this action as worship. We learn several things about worship from this texts.
First, worship is an action. It is something we do. Some have argued over the years that all of life is worship. Such is not the case. Worship is an activity we engage in with an eye toward pleasing God. Eating lunch is not worship. Breathing is not worship. Singing to Him is. Obeying Him is.
Second, worship demands revelation. In 22:2, God gave instructions to Abraham as to how to please Him. We cannot know how to worship—give love and devotion to God—unless He tells us. And, when He tells us, we can’t ignore those instructions and still claim to honor Him in worship.
Third, worship demands preparation (22:3). Abraham rose early and got the needed things ready to worship God. Attention in worship to God is never haphazard. It is something we ought to think about and get ready for.
Fourth, worship demands separation (22:6). Abraham and Isaac separated themselves from those who might have distracted them from coming before God and obeying Him. Imagine what the men with him might have done when Abraham started to sacrifice Isaac. They likely would have tried to stop him. Do you allow people to get in the way of your worship to God—husband, wife, children or friends. Do you allow work or other obligations to separate you from this most important aspect of your relationship to God? Separation may be in order, then.
Fifth, worship requires dedication. How must Abraham have felt when he heard the command of God in 22:2? Was he really supposed to love this God who had blessed him so and promised him so much more than his own son? The answer was yes, and he did. In truth, God expects all of us to put Him first in our lives (Matthew 22:37-38; 10:37). That means we must be more devoted to Him than anything else we can imagine. That’s tough, but true worship means letting go and sacrificing to God—sacrificing our time, our energy
Finally, worship results in adoration. In 22:13-14, once his hand was stayed from killing his son, Abraham offered up a ram in worship to God. Think of how happy his heart must have been in that moment. Adoration flowed from Abraham. When we consider what we have gained from God through Christ, what we have been forgiven, and how much we have been loved, adoration ought to “go yonder and worship” as well.
Let’s apply this to our lives.