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Lord of All

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“Lord of All… or Not at All”

Genesis 22:1-18; Hebrews 11:17-19

February 2, 2003

Hiland Presbyterian Church

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"

"Here I am," he replied.

Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"

"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.

"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"

"Here I am," he replied.

"Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided."

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Genesis 22:1-18

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 11:17-19

Outline:

I.                    Worship Recognizes that God has spoken.

II.                  Worship Responds to what God has said.

III.                Worship Requires the Best we have to offer.

IV.               Worship Rejoices at the heart of God.

V.                 Worship Results in Blessing to the people of God.

The Law of first mention – Wherever a word, doctrine or theme is mentioned for the first time it may be setting the tone for understanding it throughout the Bible.

  • Vs. 5 This is the first mention of “worship” in the Bible

I. Worship Recognizes that God has spoken.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"

"Here I am," he replied.

Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

  • Worship is a command from God. It is not an option for the believer. God is not only telling Abraham to worship. He is telling him where and how to worship.
  • This is God’s idea! Worship is an idea straight from the heart of God!
  • The ground for the meaning of this passage is not in the act that Abraham was commanded to do. It is in the recognition that God is to be obeyed and worshipped! It becomes holy ground to all who understand it as the foundation of the worship of God.
  • Remember the worship of God and the work of God are always guided by the Word of God. Worship recognizes that God has spoken!

II. Worship Responds to what God has said.

Vs. 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

 

  • How would you respond to the news. Personally I would be on the phone with people I knew and trusted to see if I had lost my mind. This doesn’t really sound like the God I’ve come to know over the years. At best I would tell the Lord I would get back to him because I needed more time to think about it.
    • Progressive revelation. The reason I think that way is I have the whole counsel of the Word of God to inform my decision. But how did we learn these things. Abraham lived in a world where none of this was established. Sacrificing children was a way of life. This is how Abraham learned that God did not expect, desire or even accept that practice! It is because of this experience that we now know it is not God’s design for worship.
  • But Abraham didn’t question, or hesitate. No argument, no negotiation. The fact that it made no more sense to him than it would to us did not slow his obedience.
  • Weber, Worship is a Verb, “… worship is not a feeling, a thought process or an emotion that comes over us. Worship is an act in which we respond to what God has asked of His people. It is not passive; it is not something we watch. It is something we do!
  • When God said…. Abraham obeyed. Period.
  • Worship responds when God speaks.

III. Worship Requires the Best we have to offer.

Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

  • Worship is not cheap. God asked Abraham for the most precious thing in his whole life.
  • Abraham had a crisis of faith. The word of God seemed to be contradicting the promise of God. Yet Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. The only way God’s Word could be true and still keep his promise was to raise Isaac from the dead. Listen again. The only way God can both keep his Word and fulfill His promise was to raise his son from the dead. Ponder that a while. It is one of the deepest truths of the heart of God.
  • Abraham put his trust in God above his own thoughts… emotions… and needs. He sacrificed what he could not keep to take hold of what he could not lose.
  • Generations later king David come to this very same spot on top of Mount Moriah. He wanted to build a Temple there to the glory of God. A place where all generations could worship God. David realized he was living in a beautiful palace while the Ark of the Covenant sitting in a tent. David came to this spot and offered to buy it from the owner. The owner was honored and offered to give it to him. In II Samuel 24:24 David said “… I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing!” David understood that worship meant bringing to God the very best and that requires sacrifice as well as obedience.
  • After David died Solomon built the most unbelievable Temple to God on the very spot--- the spot where Abraham offered his son Isaac to the Lord. True worship means giving God the best we have to give.

 

IV. Worship Rejoices at the heart of God.

  • When all had been made ready and Abraham lifted the knife to sacrifice Isaac, the angel of the Lord stopped him and showed him that God had provided the sacrifice.
  • What joy that brought to Abraham (and Isaac, I’m sure). How much faster did they go down the hill than they had climbed it?
  • In Chariots of Fire, “…when I run I feel His pleasure.” Abraham felt God’s pleasure. God had been faithful to His word and He had kept his promise. Never again would Abraham put the promise ahead of God.

V. Worship Results in Blessing to the people of God.

  • But it not only resulted in rejoicing for Abraham, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."
  • This act of obedience and sacrifice resulted in the blessing of many and we are in the middle of that stream of blessing!
  • “The Bible says that when we honor God, God honors us. God will not be debtor to anyone. We cannot out give God. When you give Him your worship, He will shower blessings back on you. But you must offer Him everything. If you have not come to love him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, your worship will be empty. … We need to offer God everything we have, everything we are. We need to come before Him and say, “Lord, there is not anything in my life that I love more than I love you.” He is either Lord of all… or not at all!
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