I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8–9)
Have you ever been around someone of extraordinary prominence? Perhaps they were extremely wealthy, or famous, an athlete, or held a position of power. Sometimes we can be tempted in the presence of greatness to almost bow down to them or feel unworthy compared to them. There can often be a fine line between showing respect and admiration for someone like this, verses actually placing them on a level of prominence where we cease to see that this is a person, just like us. In fact, they deserve no more dignity than we ourselves or anyone else, because, in fact, God created them, just as he did you. Actor and comedian Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” I think an honest statement like this speaks to what I am saying here. After you “arrive” at fame and fortune, you realize that what you had so often looked up to was ultimately not fulfilling what you had been longing for and looking up to.
In this passage in Revelation, John, at the end of an extraordinary vision in the very last chapter of our Bible, reveals that in his ignorance he made a huge error. He fell to the ground and worshipped an angel. The angel rebuked him and said, “I am a fellow servant.” In other words, I am created by God just like you, and I serve the same God you do, therefore, don’t you do that. Worship God, and God only.
Now step back and consider this. Here a powerful being, showing John an unbelievable vision of all that is and will be in this world, is not worthy of worship. Compare this angel to the greatest man or woman on the planet and the angel seems greater still, don’t you think? Yet, the angel warns, “Don’t do that!” Don’t bow down and worship another fellow servant; worship God.
How often do we find ourselves taking delight in God’s creation over taking delight in God himself? We must learn with sober judgment to discern our appetites. What is it, or who is it, that we take delight in more than God? We must recognize that we are so easily carried away to place our delight in something or someone—“Don’t do that!” Instead, as A. W. Tozer said, “We must never rest until everything inside us worships God.”
Almighty God, you are above all things. We worship you and lay all we are on the altar before you. We exalt you because you alone are worthy of our praise. We cannot stand beneath the weight of your glory. So we hit our knees and lift you up. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What are you most prone to give your delight to other than God? Can you name it honestly and confess that to God today?
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