The first biblical reference to worship is in connection with Abraham.
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Law of First Mention
There is a principle of biblical interpretation which is called the “law of first mention.” It states that the first biblical mention of any subject gives a clear indication of its meaning and significance wherever else it occurs in the Bible.
The first occurrence of the word “worship” is found when Abraham was speaking to the young men who accompanied Isaac and him to Moriah.
The seriousness of worship is shown by this first mention.
Abraham’s response to God’s commandment was one of obedience.
There is no way for us to imagine what obedience to this command demanded of Abraham. Isaac was the promised son. He was the fulfillment of the covenant God had made with Abraham.
The act of worship at this time was certainly an act of intense sacrifice. This act of worship would demand of Abraham his very best, the highest offering he could possibly make.
The act of worship may still be one of great personal sacrifice.
Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
True worship means that there has been a complete surrender of one’s whole self to God.
Act of Obedience – Faith
The act of worship is an act of obedience and faith. Abraham certainly could not have felt like worshiping.
On the third day of his journey to offer Isaac, Abraham said, “We will come back to you.”
An act of obedience had turned to an act of faith.
Surrender of Self
The death of Isaac would mean the death of everything Abraham had lived for. Every promise in the Covenant was based on the birth of his son. Everything he had believed was involved with Isaac. It was an act of total surrender to God.
Because of Abraham’s obedience to worship, God inhabited his praise and brought a special gift of faith which compelled Abraham to commit to Isaac’s sacrifice.
Psalm 22:3 But You are holy, Who inhabit the praises of Israel.
Abraham brought his son to be sacrificed and this became a pattern of ultimate sacrifice. Later, we see the Father allowing the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus. There is even a strong possibility that Jesus was sacrificed at the exact place where Abraham offered Isaac.
We must surrender all personal desires, ambitions, and plans to enter into real worship.