Worship is a hot topic in my day--how it should be done--what's appropriate and what's not. I know there are a lot of opinions and a lot of man made books out there. I want to study God's word and discern for myself. I just want to start noting occurrences of worship as they come up in my readings.
1) Before the fall. Adam and Eve had fellowship with God daily. All was open and innocent. There is no mention of worship until man and woman sinned, and their shame caused them to fear God's presence. (Gen 3:8)
2) Cain and Abel offer sacrifices. (Gen 4) Obviously someone must have taught them the need to do so. Whether God taught Adam and Adam taught them, is not explained. There is no mention of a commanded type of offering. As I've mentioned before, Hebrews 4 implies that Abel's sacrifice was approved, not necessarily because it was a lamb, but rather because he offered the lamb with faith.
3) Genesis 5 says that in the days of Seth, men began to call upon the name of the Lord. In my mind this would imply prayer; however, we are not given any kind of indication as to what types of specific instructions people may have been given about the worship of God. However, by Genesis 6, the clear thing is that the majority of mankind is not seeking to please the creator.
4) After Noah and his family come off the ark, they build an altar and offered "clean beasts and clean fowl" to the Lord. Now here, I find myself unsure of something. Did Moses, as he authored the Pentateuch through the Holy Spirit's inspiration and having been given the law, recognize the animals that Noah offered as clean and record them so; OR, did God give instructions about sacrifice to his early civilization. Did Noah know the animals were clean (or unclean) or did Moses recognize them as such?
It doesn't really matter, of course, it's just one of those brain-benders. Either way, I return to my lesson from the specific construction of the ark. If God intends for us to do something in a specific way, he will give specific instructions. That's what I'm looking for as I study.
5) Gen 12:7. Abram built an altar and worshiped God when he arrived in the land of Canaan, and God appeared to Him and re-affirmed that Abram was where God wanted Him to be. "And the Lord appeared unto Abram and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him."
Gen 13:4 This time Abram builds an altar and calls upon the name of the Lord. God does not speak to him first, but rather He is called upon. At this point, Abram is rich in goods, but He still hungers for God.
Gen 13:18 Abram has heard Gods voice, and God's promise for the land has been reaffirmed again. In addition, Abram has obeyed God and walked through the promised land. It is after this exploratory journey, that he builds and altar to worship, one assumes to praise and show thanks with anticipation of what is to come!
6) Genesis 14:18--Abram comes into contact with Melchizedek, priest of the most high God, and offers tithes.
7) Genesis 15:9--Immediately after Abram's conversion, God responds to his question ("whereby shall I know?") with instructions for a sacrifice. Sacrifice by this time, has been well established as the normal mode of worship. How is this worship executed? Here, God gives specific instructions about the sacrifice and those instructions are followed. Again, Abram seems aware of a certain protocol as to how the animals are to be divided, but we don't know how this knowledge was attained or passed down. Then Abram has to wait. He has to keep circling scavengers from devouring the sacrifice. At sundown, God comes to Abram while he sleeps, and in the midst of fear and darkness, God reveals Himself.
When Abram wakes up, night has fallen, and before his eyes adjust to the dim light, a smoking lamp passes among the sacrifices. While he is fully conscious, God affirms that the incredible events of that day have not all been a dream. Abram worshiped and waited obediently, and God's Will for his future was affirmed in his heart, in his mind, and before his very eyes. God used worship to create certainty in His servant, both of His Will and of His promises.