Names of God

Is love an act of obedience, worship, or both?

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  This verse is a great reminder that there is nothing we need that God cannot provide for us. Abraham learned this lesson very well in Genesis 22:1-19. 

As I studied this passage in Lord, I Want to Know You, Kay Arthur pointed out that three significant words are used for the first time in this passage.  These three words are love, worship and obey.  If you have your Bible handy, grab it and read through this passage.  If you don’t have it handy click here and follow along.  Kay says, “When a significant word is mentioned for the first time in the Word of God the principles connected with that word at that point hold true throughout the rest of Scripture.  This is called the principle of first mention.” (p 60)

So as you read through Genesis 22:1-19, notice what order these three words are in, and ask yourself what principle is established about this word.  We’ll wait for you here while you read. {smile}

What did you notice about these words?

Here are a few things I noticed:

Love: The first mention of love is used to describe the love a father has for his only son.  This reminds of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Can you see the similarity between this story and the story of Jesus. God understands that He is asking Abraham to sacrifice the son he waited 100 years for.  This was no ordinary love and no ordinary act of obedience.

Worship: Abraham says in verse five “we will worship and return to you.”  Did you notice that he says “WE”?  Did he know that Isaac would be coming back with him?  Or was his love for Isaac so strong that he couldn’t imagine not coming back with him?  Did you notice that although Abraham is walking up a mountain to sacrifice his son, he says they are going to “worship”?  I asked myself, “Does true worship require sacrifice?”  Would you have considered this time a time or worship?

Obey: If you read the passage from start to finish, you may have noticed that the preface of this entire scenario is that God is testing Abraham.  And Abraham passes. If you have read Genesis from start to finish, you realize that Isaac was not actually Abraham’s only son, but he was Abraham’s only son that came through OBEDIENCE.  In Genesis 16 we see Abraham trying to help God carry out the promise God gave him.  God had promised Abraham a son and because Abraham and Sarah were old and barren they came up with a plan to make this happen.  So Abraham sleeps with Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant, and she has a son: Ishmael.  This causes immense stress on the family, and Abraham learns the importance of obedience.  So when faced with this test about 10 years or so later, Abraham obeys God completely.  He didn’t try to outsmart God or find a way to help God fulfill His plan.  He simply obeys. 

As I thought about these three words, I wrote these three thoughts in my book.

Jesus demonstrated his love for us by obeying God and sacrificing Himself on the cross. This allows us to have a relationship with God and to worship Him.

true love = complete obedience = act of worship

I can offer all of me–God will provide

I am challenged by this passage to reevaluate my thoughts on love, worship and obedience.  Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey what I command.”  Today I am considering how well I am demonstrating my love for Jesus.

There is so much more we could discuss in this passage.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this passage.  Please share them by leaving a comment.

2 comments on “Is love an act of obedience, worship, or both?

  1. Pingback: Choosing Obedience over Revenge « Speaking in Faith Blog

  2. Pingback: A Personal Reflection on Genesis 22 | Speaking in Faith Blog

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