“…And there he (Abram) built an altar to the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 12:8)
As far as we know, there was no altar in the Garden of Eden. Why? Because before Adam fell (sinned), there was no need for a sacrifice. Instead of a specific place and practice of worship, based on a sacrifice, the whole of the Garden of Eden was a place of worship. It is when we see Abel make an offering of the “firstlings of his flock, and the fat thereof,” (Gen. 4:4) that we see the imperative of worship, but worship in a certain manner. The worship of God is only acceptable if it is based on a sacrifice, and that ultimate and perfect sacrifice is Christ. But, why is worship the first thing?
If we fast-forward from the Garden of Eden to the life of Abram (Abraham), we discover that God revealed to him, not only the necessity to worship, but the means and blessing of worship. It seems that almost everywhere that Abram went, he built an altar. Again, why? Because God can only be sought, and found, on the basis of a sacrifice. The apostle John writes in Revelation 13:8, that Christ, the Lamb of God, was, “…slain from the foundation of the world.” There is but ONE sacrifice for sin, ONE means that God has provided, so that we can approach a holy God. Every act of true worship, as we see in the lives of Abel, Abraham, …in Israel with the tabernacle, and eventually in Solomon’s temple, was based on the sacrifice of Another. Christ’s blood ALONE can take away, wash away, all sin, providing a basis for approaching God. With regard to the blessing of true worship, is the revelation of God, by the Spirit, to the heart and soul of the one seeking God.
True worship of God is that first imperative that must be practiced, and maintained, if there is to be true service to God. Jesus, in speaking to the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, 23, said: “…You worship you know not what.” He then goes on to say, “…the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” True worship, that attributing to God the worth and honor that He is due to receive from us, is only possible if we first know the TRUTH of Him. And that TRUTH is Christ, for He is that sacrificial Lamb. But then, we must worship by the Spirit. Worship is a heavenly business. It’s essence is holy, and empowered by the Spirit of God. God created worship, and has provided a “pattern” for us. It is as we fall down before Him, and attribute to Him all the glory and honor due Him, that we begin to understand “the edges of His ways,” and thus, grasp in some small measure the knowledge of Him.
Dear Father, enable us to see the primacy of worship, and practice it in Spirit and in truth. We know that the great blessing of worship is first pleasing You, and in this You are well-pleased. We know also that it is in that act and attitude of worship that You have chosen to reveal Yourself, and Your Son, to our hearts. As we learn to worship You, open our eyes to see Your glory “in the sanctuary.” Transform us into Your likeness Lord Jesus, as we gaze in truth upon You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.