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Why worship isn't what you think it is

The first time worship is mentioned in the Bible there is no singing, no guitar, and no sermon; just a bleak desert. In Genesis 22, Abraham and his son Isaac go to Mount Moriah in obedience to God.

“Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” -Genesis 22:5

In this text, Abraham embodies what the heart of worship is all about. When God calls him he says "here I am" and he takes God at His word to the point where he's willing to sacrifice his very own son. This picture of worship is one of deep sacrifice and even discomfort, for Abraham and Isaac this is not very enjoyable at all.

This is far from the picture that many of us have of worship; for us, we often see worship as God meeting us in our comfort. We like singing the songs that we like to sing, sitting next to our friends, and once the service is done we leave and life continues as usual. However, the key to worship is what Matt Redman's song Heart of Worship says; it's not about you and it's all about Him.

For us, we often see worship as God meeting us in our comfort.

The interesting thing about Mount Moriah as the location of the sacrifice is that David sacrificed for the nation of Israel at Mount Moriah, Solomon built the temple at Mount Moriah, and Jesus made a sacrifice around the same place. God is a great storyteller; three significant heroes in Israel all make an offering at the same place, culminating in Jesus' final sacrifice. That's why the mountain was called "The Mountain Where God Provided" because on that day God showed that he cared more about providing a sacrifice than requiring one. God said to Abraham, "now I know that you love me, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from me (Gen. 22:12)." Likewise, we can say the same to God, "I know that you love me since you have not withheld your son, your only son from me."

Worship is about giving your entire life to the 'other.'

While the knife stopped at Isaac, it didn't stop with Jesus. God knew that we could never provide a sacrifice that would ever be enough so he said "let me do it." Jesus became the perfect sacrifice as one who is God and one who is a man. Through this, the separation between God and man was bridged through a sacrifice that is greater than the blood of goats. He showed that worship is about giving your entire life to the 'other' rather than giving your life to the pursuit of self-pleasure. David embodied worship perfectly as he says in Psalms 51:

15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Worship completely opposes selfishness, it is a selfless response to a perfect sacrifice that was provided for us.

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