Lest We Drift
By Jim Huskins
Temptation creeps quietly under every garden gate. “Did God really say…?” The father of lies revealed much of himself as he led Adam and Eve astray. One of those insights is his astonishing ability to sow doubt. Unchallenged, doubt bears the fruit of confusion, redefinition, and rejection of truth.
Our culture is awash in satanic doubt. One of our Supreme Court Justices cannot define the word “woman.” A startling number of professing Christians attempt to blend the religion of evolution with the worship of Creator God. “People of faith” consider marriage optional and same sex relationships acceptable. “Freedom in Christ” is an excuse for sinful practices which the Bible labels abomination. Some Christians endorse the murder of unborn babies. None of these heresies would be thinkable had not the ancient adversary been able to instill doubt in the minds of well-intended people.
This rejection of Biblical truth is blatant in the widespread misunderstanding of what constitutes “worship.” Modern Christians believe that “worship” is about singing or listening to other people sing. The Bible teaches no such thing.
The Hebrew word for “worship” is shachah, Strong’s 7812. It means “to bow down.” In traditional Eastern cultures, the act of prostrating oneself before another is an acknowledgment of inferiority. The one being worshipped is affirmed as greater, stronger, and more significant. Hebrew worship always includes sacrifice. Implicit in the Hebrew act of “bowing before” is a commitment to absolute obedience. Nowhere in the Bible is worship defined as “singing to” or “singing about” someone.
Unquestioning obedience is evident in Abraham’s response when he was called to sacrifice the son of the promise. The word shachah occurs twice before. In Genesis 18:2, Abraham bowed before three visitors to his camp. In 19:1, Lot bowed before two angels at his home in Sodom. The first account where the definition of shachah is fleshed out through action includes Genesis 22:5, “Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.’”
Abraham’s example provides startling perspective on the nature of worship. God told him to take the long-awaited son of promise, travel to Mt. Moriah, kill the boy, and offer his body as a burnt offering. His response leaves no doubt that worship is unquestioning obedience. Also, worship never involves arguing with God.
“But God, you promised us this boy. We waited a long time. We’re too old to have another. This is going to break his mother’s heart. Surely you don’t expect me to kill my own son. You’ve never before asked for human sacrifice.”
None of these natural reactions were included in Abraham’s response. Instead, he devoted himself to the details of carrying out what he had been told. He rose early, saddled his donkey, selected two servants to assist, split wood for the sacrifice, and set out for the assigned destination. When they arrived, Abraham told his servants that he and Issac were about to worship.
But how was that possible? They had no choir, no stage, no keyboard, no electric guitar or bass, no microphone, no amplifier, no drum kit, and no laser lights. The closest thing to a smoke machine was a simple altar and some firewood. Who could worship under those conditions? When Abraham bound his only son with a rope and placed him on the altar, no one sang. No one waved their hands. No professional musicians presented a concert. The worship Abraham offered was nothing but obedience.
All of us come to God with a sinful nature. He expects us to change. He demands that our every desire be to honor Him by following His Son’s example. Jesus walked in perfect obedience. Many churches tell us that all we have to do is nod our head and repeat a little prayer. Jesus says that we must hunger and thirst after righteousness. He says to every disciple, “If you love me, keep My commandments.” Grace does not mean that we are excused from obedience. Grace is what covers our human frailty when we fail in spite of sincere effort.
The Second Chapter of Hebrews offers us this challenge: “Pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Our old enemy’s demonstrated goal is to trick us into paying attention to the wrong things. His plan is working. Jesus left us to carry out the most important work in history. He assured us that He will return to finish the job. He commanded us to gather each Sabbath to be instructed and encouraged so that we might do a better job. How did the devil convince us that our job is to show up on Sundays for entertainment and emotional catharsis? How did he distract us from the fact that “worship” is what we do the rest of the week?
Hebrews 11:6 teaches that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Most Churches claim that “faith” is something you think. The Bible teaches that “faith” is what you do. Here is that lesson in James 2:21, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?” Saving faith always leads to a sincere attempt to live in obedience. An obedient life is an unending act of worship.
The ancient deceiver led Eve down that garden path to rebellion. The cost of the first sin is unimaginable. Now he has redefined “worship” as “singing.” When we gather as believers, we should sing joyfully and loudly. Singing helps focus and express our delight and devotion to the One who died in our place. But singing is not worship, and “Church” does not exist merely to meet my needs. Hebrews 11:17 says that, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Issac.” We could sing nonstop for the next hundred years and never scratch the surface of that level of commitment.
Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship in McDowell County. Beginning July 2, 2022 Obedient Heart Fellowship will meet at 10:00 Each Sabbath (Seventh Day) at 3023 US 221 N. Marion, NC. 10:00 A.M. Call 828-460-7913 for info.
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