And so we encounter the first mention of the word “worship” in the Bible.
In Genesis 22:5 we read that Abraham leaves the young men travelling with them behind with these words: “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (my emphasis).
This chapter (Gen 22) is an amazing picture (shadow) of the sacrificial journey of Jesus:
He is the only Son of God, just as Isaac was the son of promise, the heir.
Abraham placed the wood for the sacrifice onto Isaac’s shoulders, foreshadowing the way Jesus’ cross was placed on His shoulders and He had to walk with it through the streets of the city to Golgotha.
Isaac cried: “My father!” and received the comfort of his father’s reply: “Here am I, my son” (verse 7). In contrast, Jesus called out in anguish and pain, forsaken by God (Matt 27:46) so that we never have to go through the utter desperation of ever being without our Father.
And then there is Abraham’s profound answer to Isaac’s concern about the absence of a sacrificial animal: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (verse 8). God, the Father asked His Son, and Jesus offered Himself, to once and for all atone for the sins of the world.
What great courage, what great FAITH! No wonder Abraham is mentioned several times in the faith hall of fame as described in Hebrews 11! He was willing to literally sacrifice this son for whom he had to wait so long!
Abraham had an absolute trust in God – that He would provide an outcome. In Hebrews 11:19 it says that Abraham “considered that God was able even to raise him (Isaac) from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
Abraham understood something of the awesome power of God. Some say that he saw a vision of the future redemptive and death-conquering work of Jesus – the Lamb of God, on the cross. He didn’t look up to see the ram God provided, because it was caught in a bush behind him (verse 13).
So, worship, in this context could be interpreted as submission to the will of God, a picture of humility before the sovereign King. The Greek word “shachah” (worship), used here, speaks of a posture of homage, bowing down in worship to God as a response to His great power.
“This act of worship is given to God because He deserves it, and because those who are speaking are people of His pasture” (Strong’s Concordance).
There is a special, priviledged relationship between God and those who are called as His own. As believers, we have the intimacy of children with their father, but we always, always have to remember with reverence that our Father is the Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Eternal, Immutable God!
We have free access to the innermost parts of the throne room, and our response is to bow down, to submit in immediate obedience, to pay homage to our Great God.
“Shachah” is more than a posture of the body, it is a position of the heart, which influences the actions, words, thoughts and lifestyle of one who worships God. It is a life focused on God.
by Lise Oosthuizen