The first allusion to worship occurs in Genesis chapter four where we find “Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.” (Genesis 4:3-4 NKJV) Knowing that Abel’s offering was the result of faith we rightly conclude that he was acting in obedience to God’s commandment. (Romans 10:17) Following the birth of Enosh to Seth, son of Adam and Eve, “men began to call on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26) Abraham described the burnt offering God asked him to make as “worship.” “And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”” (Genesis 22:5 NKJV) Moses was also instructed to “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.” (Exodus 24:1 NKJV)
Men continued to call on the name of the Lord and to offer sacrifices as prescribed by the Mosaic Law until the Messiah arrived. God desired that service to Him be motivated by love, a condition of His blessing. “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6 NKJV) Not all men respond in love to God’s command to love and worship Him. Cain selfishly substituted the prescribed offering. (Genesis 4) Nadab and Abihu substituted the designated fire with which to burn incense. The Israelites ultimately grew weary of worship. ““You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the LORD of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the LORD.” (Malachi 1:13 NKJV) Contrast that to David who said, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”” (Psalms 122:1 NKJV)
What a refreshing change that demanding rituals have been replaced. Worship is no longer restricted to a specific people or place. Jesus explained this to the woman at the well in Samaria. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 NKJV) Worshipers must still adhere to sound doctrine. “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:8-9 NKJV)
Worship may well be our primary purpose and occupation in heaven once we join those spiritual beings already residing there. “The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”” (Revelation 4:10-11 NKJV) “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;” (Acts 17:24-27 NKJV)
Men continue to call on God under the gospel. (1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Timothy 2:22) Our lives and our continuous praise are sacrifices that please God. (Romans 12:1, Hebrews 13:15) Call on Him. Seek Him. Praise Him.