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.” Genesis 22:5
My Gmail greetings come from Santa Barbara where I am ministering at Founder’s Week at The Samarkand, a retirement community in our denomination. I am so humbled on this trip, engaging with PCC Alums, including Millie Johanson (101 years young!), who along with her husband Carl started PCC in her Burlingame living room. They are praying for us, asking about what God is up to at PCC and are following Jesus, living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
Yesterday as I was teaching on Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22, I was struck in verse 5 (above). As Abraham journeyed up Mt. Moriah, from his perspective it was an act of worship.
One Hebrew commentary offered this mind-expanding explanation of the Hebrew word for worship used here:
The verb hishtahavah is the word for prostrating oneself on the ground before a superior. It is not simply an outward, physical act. Hishtahava describes an inner attitude of worship even when there is no associated outward ritual. We see this attitude in the servant of Abraham when he meets Rebekah (Genesis 24:26). We find it in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:5), in David’s desire to seek God’s face (Psalm 5:7) and in the final purpose for all people (Isaiah 66:3). Hishtahavah is your soul, spirit, mind, and strength facedown on the ground, in humble adoration, and total commitment to the only One Who is worthy of worship.
To come before the Lord of hosts means that we are undone. Isaiah knew it. So should we. Our lack of humility and fearfulness before the God of all life only compounds our spiritual ineffectiveness. We have not because we do not ask from the dirt.
Meditating on this puts a new spin on the question “How was worship?” While we are so prone to ask that question weekly as we leave church parking lots, I wonder if the angelic forces in Heaven ask that question of the Lord daily as the great cloud of witnesses eagerly anticipates followers of Jesus worshipping through our daily obedience.
Worship is the strongest motive I can think of when it comes to our obedience in whatever area we find ourselves in. To sacrifice anything in the name of worship, communicating through our obedience to the Lord “You are so worth it!” is powerful.
Today as you are reading this, think of your “Mt. Moriah.” Where is God calling you to obedience and you have to walk that road by faith? Why not start with this question: is God worth it? Why not focus on God’s great character and walk that road of obedience with a spirit of worship?
I share all this as we begin to host, in the coming month, our final three candidates for the Lead Worship Pastor position at PCC. I have been praying for them and us, as they come to be with us and lead us in worship, that we would be released to worship God in Spirit and truth and be a blessing to each other as we discern our future together. Please join me in praying this.
This weekend we will continue in our Love Does series, looking at how Love Empowers Children. This weekend is a manifesto for the mission of PCC! You won’t want to miss it!
Worship well today and I look forward to being together on Sunday!
I love being your pastor!