Hebrews 11:21, By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
Genesis 22:5, 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.
Hebrews 11:17-19, By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
As we look deeper into Abraham’s worship, I would like to note a fourth indelible characteristic that secured God’s blessing on his life – Faith.
We can never please God apart from faith (Heb. 11:6); and that faith will be anchored in a clear understanding of divine truth (Rom. 10:14-17; II Peter 1:16-21).
Here we must make a distinction between understanding “what” God tells us to do, and “why” God tells us to do it. We may understand what God wants us to do, and never understand why God wants us to do something. That is exactly where Abraham found himself; clearly understanding God’s demand, but completely unaware of the purpose it would serve. This faithful old patriarch possessed two divine truths from God; two truths that seemed irreconcilable. One was a promise, the other a command. The promise – “for in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12). The command – “Take now thy son…and offer him…for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:2). Some may say, “How perplexing,” or “How unreasonable.” However, faith can never be based on our understanding of God’s purposes, but rather must rest in our understanding of God’s character.
Abraham, who did not stagger at God’s promise, would not stumble at his command; even though he did not understand how the Lord would fulfill His promise. For, he thought God was going to raise his son from the dead (Heb.11:17-19). He was moved to worship the Father in the way in which he was commanded, because he had embraced his promise, understood his character, and was therefore able to unreservedly entrust himself to the purposes of God.
Have circumstances of life hindered our worship of God? Have his demands on our lives seemed to contradict his promises? Have present situations robbed us of the joy of fellowship with our Redeemer? Have we become so consumed with comforts, that we can only worship God and share his grace with others in the good, prosperous, and unchallenging times? Could it be that the source of most of our discouragement, disillusionment, and rebellion is rooted, not in our lack of understanding God’s purposes or the why’s of life, but in our ignorance and distrust of God’s character? Do we really believe God is good? (Rom. 2:4).
May God deliver us from our own understanding and self-reliance (Prov. 3:5-8; 14:12; 16:25), and in turn, worship Him in faith, trusting solely in his unchanging word.
Remember, it is in the difficult and dark times of life, that our unwavering worship of God, wields the most influence on a lost, dying and skeptical world.
Pastor Brooks Suttle
Royal River Baptist Church