READ: Genesis 22-24, Psalm 8, Matthew 8, Acts 8
Isaac is not the first son that God asks Abraham to surrender. Abraham has already grieved the loss of Ishmael, a pain worse than death; now God asks for another son. This son God calls “your only one,” a reference to the most important person in Abraham’s life, his future, his hope, his joy, his treasure. This is true worship: the giving up of that which costs us everything.
When we seek to move past singing and verbal praise as our standard for worship to the offering up of what is most precious, it is imperative to remember that God gives what it hurts most to return. Isaac was the miracle baby, laughter, the shame buster. God had given Isaac; now God asked for Isaac back. We don’t have to forage for or manufacture costly worship. We simply return to Jesus the most precious thing (or persons) that He has loaned to us. Our God will provide for Himself our costly worship.
It is costly worship that most delights the heart of God. Not because He is twisted and derives His greatest joy from our deepest sorrows, but because when we give up what is precious we are declaring to Jesus: “YOU are most precious, Jesus. You are above all others.”
When we so delight the heart of God, He by His nature blesses us. His blessings are not to be confused with or limited to possessions or persons. His blessings are an invitation into His person, character, and purposes (He, too, gave up His only Son). He blesses us by using us to bless the nations. A supreme reward for costly worship is participation in God’s grand mission to be worshipped by every people group on earth. Our blessing is to be a blessing to all nations. Our reward for costly worship is participation in the divine nature and in the mission of God.