Uplook Fridays:Worshipers in the Old Testament

It is very instructive to note in the Scriptures the
engagements or circumstances which brought forth worship from believing men or
women. The attractiveness of divine worship, and the variety of events which
stirred that worship are both inspiring and informative.

Abraham Offering Isaac
“And Abraham said unto his
young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and
worship
” (Gen. 22:5). The Lord God was
taking Abraham into His own heart to know the fellowship of His sufferings.
God’s passion was derived from the sacrifice He was to make of His own beloved
Son. Abraham therefore was asked for the sacrifice of his only son, and in
responding to this, Abraham performed one of the most extraordinary acts of
obedience that was ever known from the foundation of the world. The most
amazing thing in this record—and there are things of the heart over which the
Divine Recorder has cast a veil—is that Abraham calls this tremendous sacrifice
an act of worship: “I and the lad will go yonder and worship.” Abraham esteemed
God worthy of the surrender of his dearest possession.

Eliezer Finding a Bride
“And the man [Eliezer] bowed down his head, and worshiped the
Lord” (Gen. 24:26). Abraham had sent his faithful servant to find a bride for
his beloved son, Isaac. It was a long, arduous journey through hundreds of
miles of desert, since the bride was to come from Abraham’s native land, from
among his own kindred. It is a lovely picture of God sending His Spirit to choose
out and bring home a bride for Christ, that bride being the great company of
the redeemed (Rev. 21:9). The faithful servant was divinely led to Rebekah, who
was endowed even before she received the message concerning Isaac, but who, on
hearing the testimony, fully responded, and left all that was represented by
her relatives to go on that long journey, at the end of which she would meet
her Isaac. The point to remember is that the faithful servant was so led by
God—“I being in the way, the Lord led me” (Gen. 24:27)—that “he bowed…his head,
and worshiped the Lord” for such unerring guidance.

Israel
Hearing of God’s Concern for Them

“And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had
visited the children of Israel,
and that He had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and
worshiped” (Ex. 4:31). Moses, after being on the mount with God, brought them
the good news of God’s visitation and His purpose to deliver them. It was a
word of salvation. They were no longer to be vassals of a cruel taskmaster, but
subjects of the Lord’s own kingdom, and forged into a people for His using. The
presence of Israel in Egypt was due
to failure, but God was to redeem them from all the consequences of that
failure and bring them out. When the people heard from Moses that God was to be
the God of their salvation and that He would “come down to deliver”—a word
which pointed forward to the incarnation of the Son of God—“they bowed their
heads and worshiped.”

Joshua’s Entrance into the Promised Land
“Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but
as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face
to the earth, and did worship” (Josh. 5:13-14). Moses had laid down his
leadership. Though he had strong and holy desires to enter the land, yet God
had forbidden it. In a public demonstration of anger he had dishonored God, and
since he personified the law, which he and all others had broken, it was not
possible for him to lead Israel
into the Lord’s inheritance. Joshua (meaning Saviour) fittingly took over.
Before any battle was joined to gain possession, he was confronted by One who
turned out to be a divine personage. Not knowing at first who He was, Joshua
challenged His presence, but when the Lord explained that He had come to take
over as Captain in order to ensure victory in their battles and the right of
possession, Joshua “fell on his face to the earth, and did worship.”

Gideon Hearing God’s Word through a Dream
“And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and
the interpretation thereof, that he worshiped” (Judg. 7:15). Israel was now confronted with a
Midianite threat which had developed because of their own lapse back into
idolatry. Gideon, called by God, had broken down the images and idols of vanity
and cut down the groves. No deliverance could possibly come through such
religious falsity. But God had come through in Gideon. To strengthen his
confidence against such an enemy power, the Lord sent him and his servant into
the camp of the Midianites. There they heard a man telling a dream about a cake
of barley bread tumbling into the camp and wrecking it. Whereupon his fellow
interpreted the barley cake as “nothing else save the sword of Gideon.” This
gave Gideon the assurance of victory, inspired courage, and drew forth worship.

Samuel In His Infancy
“And he worshiped the Lord there” (1 Sam. 1:28). In the
background there is a husband with two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah was
fruitful after the flesh, but Hannah was barren. Peninnah is spoken of as
Hannah’s “adversary,” who by her ridicule caused her to “fret” so that Hannah
was brought into “bitterness of soul.” Hannah means “grace” and grace was not
content with barren love. But the age was one of spiritual declension and
Hannah was exercised for a child, not to glory in the flesh, nor for her own
pleasure, but that the Lord might have an instrument for His using. In a most
noble passage, which manifests Hannah’s whole and complete consecration, she
says: “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I
asked of Him: therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth
he shall be lent to the Lord.” That was Hannah. Then follows, “And he [not
she]1 worshiped the Lord there”—which means even the heart of old Eli was moved
to worship the Lord.

A Congregation for the Offering
“And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord
your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and
bowed down their heads, and worshiped the Lord” (1 Chron. 29:20). David had
been denied the building of God’s house in favor of his son, Solomon. This may
have been a blow to David’s desires, since the house was connected with the
glory of God, and in it God’s glory would be manifested. David, however, did
not pout at God’s denial, but with great affection for the testimony, gathered
the materials for the building, himself contributing a great deal of the
costliest and weightiest of metals—gold and silver. Following David’s noble
example, the whole congregation “offered willingly,” and after David had led
them in thanksgiving, they spontaneously “bowed their heads, and worshiped the
Lord.”

A Remnant at the Reading of God’s Word
“And Ezra the priest brought the law…And he read therein…from
the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could
understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the
law…And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people…bowed their
heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Neh. 8:2-3, 6).
Here we see how the Word of God quickens the soul and energizes it to worship.
Ezra’s day was toward the end of that dispensation. Only a remnant had returned
from the Babylonian captivity and did so with purpose of heart to raise again
the Lord’s testimony in a new temple. Ezra’s strategy to inspire them to do
this was to read the living Word of God to them, and the effect was so great
that “they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”

Job in the Loss of all Things
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and
fell down upon the ground, and worshiped” (Job 1:20). Satan had challenged
God’s attestation of Job’s good character. His allegation was that self-interest
lay behind the allegiance. The trial of Job was therefore consented to by the
Lord, and the trial turned to the honor of Job.
At a second challenge, to meet Satan’s taunt that Job’s continued loyalty was
because nothing had touched the man himself, God permitted Satan to afflict
Job’s body, which he did with “sore boils.” Added to this was the loss of
respect, through his friends misinterpreting his sufferings, and also through
the loss of his wife’s fellowship in faith. Job, however, had such love towards
God’s holy name, and such moderation with respect to his losses and crosses,
and was of such fine resolution still to think well of God, that he “fell down
upon the ground, and worshiped.”

These are all acts of worship which God has regarded as worthy of permanent
record in His Scriptures.

Father, Thy name our souls would bless,
As children taught by grace,
Lift up our hearts in righteousness
And joy before Thy face.

Sweet is the confidence Thou giv’st,
Though high above our praise,
Our hearts resort to where Thou liv’st
In heaven’s unclouded rays.

O Holy Father, keep us here
In that blest name of love,
Walking before Thee without fear
Till all be joy above.

—J. N. Darby

From “Worship & Remembrance” by Daniel Smith
Published by Gospel Folio Press


Used by Permission. This material is protected by copyright. © 2005 Uplook Ministries.

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