For the Christian, work, waiting, and worship shouldn’t be separate events.

Work, Waiting, and Worship



Our Western mindset causes us to see work, waiting and worship as separate entities-distinctly different events which occur at different times. We compartmentalize them on Sundays as we divide our church services into separate times of praise and worship, offering, announcements, sermon, communion, etc. The Eastern mindset – Jesus’ mindset, sees no such distinctions. His Father saw them all at once, and so did He. Follow His life closely and we’ll see them blended together no matter what the situation.

In today’s verse, Bethel (meaning House of God) is a symbol of communion with God. Ai (meaning Destruction, Hell, or Ruin) symbolizes the world. Consider where Abraham pitched his tent-right between them. What a picture of being in the world but not of it. We can get so engrossed in our worldly religious activity that we miss sweet communion with Him in everything we do, not just when we have set aside special times for Him. God wants us to pitch our tent where we will always have communion with our Lord regardless of the noise and pull of the world around us.


Drawing of Abraham at Oak of Moreh
In today’s verse, Abraham had completed his journey from Haran to Canaan. The Lord had appeared to him at Shechem, assuring him that even though the Canaanites lived in the land, He would give it to his descendants. So Abraham built an altar (of seeking) to the Lord at the oak of Moreh, which stood between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Seven-hundred years later, the Levites would deliver promises of cursing from Mount Ebal and promises of blessing from Mount Gerizim. The children of Israel would be blessed or cursed depending on their obedience to all that God had commanded through Moses. This represents the way God dealt with His people in the Old Testament and under the Law. Obey and God would bless them.

From the oak of Moreh, Abram traveled south to a location between Bethel and Ai. There he built an altar (of separation-between heaven and hell) and he called upon the name of the Lord. At Shechem God had promised the land to Abraham’s descendants. Here, God wasn’t asking for Abraham’s obedience. He was simply asking Abraham to believe that God would keep His promise. Later, in Genesis 15, God would elaborate on this promise by assuring Abraham that His descendants would not only live in the land, but would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky.

At this point Abraham didn’t just believe in God’s promise. He believed in the Lord (Gen. 15:6). This, I believe, is where Abraham received salvation (Gal. 3:8) and became the father of the faithful-all those who would receive salvation simply by believing apart from works. Here we see God’s chosen method of dealing with people. God blesses and we obey out of gratitude, not in order to be blessed.

When Abraham built these two altars, I believe he understood this. God’s promise to bless was, in his mind, as good as done, so he obeyed God by worshiping Him, and He worshiped God by giving back to God the blessing he had received. He engaged in what I see as spiritual recycling in which whatever God gives to us makes its way back to Him. This brings us back to the title of today’s article. When our trust in our Lord is rock-solid, His promises are certain, and our times of waiting can be times of worshiping as we rest in God’s constant work on our behalf. Then we can be more like Jesus as learn to engage in all three at the same time.


Even duct tape can’t fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound!


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