Worship and Sacrifice

abraham isaac sacrifice

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.(Heb. 13:5)

The term “worship” first occurs in scripture when Abraham takes his son Isaac to be sacrificed, telling his servants, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you” (Gen. 22:5). Sacrifice was the means required to approach God, and first appeared when “the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). The Mosaic Law codified the principles of sacrificial atonement: innocent blood shed for the guilty, bringing the first fruits and best in offering, and especially foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice, the crucifixion of God’s Son.

When David was commanded to erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he refused to accept it as a gift but insisted, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24). True worship is costly. Mary of Bethany poured out the precious ointment on Jesus’ feet; despite the protests of the position-driven disciples, Mary had been hearing the Lord’s word and knew that His death was impending (John 12:1-8).

Even as redeemed saints, we struggle to worship the Lord, our minds distracted, our hearts wandering, the cares of life choking out the life of the Spirit. To this, Paul exhorts us to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship (Rom. 12:1). Let us therefore continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.