1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5 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.
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
— Genesis 22:1-14 (KJV)
Last week I talked about preparing yourself for worship with thanksgiving and praise. This week as I studied this very familiar story about Abraham, it was clear that God has more to say about worship and what He will do through worship in this story where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his begotten son Isaac and Abraham obeys.
In verse 5 Abraham says to his servants, stay here while I and the boy go to worship. One can see that God has something He wants us to know about worship which has to do with obedience and faith as we approach Him in worship. The first theme that touches me in verse one is that Abraham makes himself available to God. So as Abraham made himself available to God, we too have to make be…
Willingly Available To God
When God called Abraham for this test, he was willingly available and expressed it by saying here I am. God knows where you are and what you are thinking. He knows your resistant points, your fears, your apprehensions, He knows the sins that bound you up. Welcoming God to use us even with our limitations, giving ourselves up to be used and to be tested places us in a position that God can provide for our deepest unmet needs. Communicate a “ Here I am” message to God.
Have An Attitude Of Trust
Abraham trusted God in this situation. Verse 5 he says I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you. Even after God had told Him where to go and what to do in terms of sacrificing his son as a burnt offering, Abraham was saying we’ll both be back. This means that Abraham knew and trusted that God would provide.
When you go to worship we should go with an attitude of trust and confidence in knowing that God will provide for whatever needs we bring before him. God speaks to us in many ways through the scriptures and through other people. We wonder how God will bring things through fruition and we should just trust that if we do God’s will, he will provide. Trust God with what you love the most to provide for your needs.
Hold Nothing Back
In this story, Isaac was Abraham’s best. This was the miracle son that Isaac had through Sarah at an old age who God knew he loved. Verse 10-12 says when Abraham reached and took out his knife to sacrifice his son, the angel of God spoke to him advising him not to lay his hands on the boy. God knows the things you love, he knows the things you hold dear and when you come to worship we should position ourselves to give up things we love.
As part of worship, when we bring our monies to the store house and show God that we are ready to render our tenth to him, God says now I know you reverence me as he does in the text. We all know people who seem to idolize other objects more than they do God. What God is saying is that when you approach him in worship be willing to surrender those things to him. You’ve got to be willing to give up some things for God to bless you.
God Will Provide
When God sees that you have a willing heart that you will surrender your best to Him and He knows you reverence him, He will surely bless you, He will multiply your offspring, your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies and in your offspring shall all of the nations be blessed.
The Rev. Elijah Ray is pastor of Wyatt’s Chapel Baptist Church. This column is the sermon he delivered this past Sunday.