What do you worship? Is it God, or something or someone else entirely? Do you even know what it means TO worship? The definition of this word tells us that worship is “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration,” and in common usage when we say we worship something it means “adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle.” In Britain, the salutation “your worship” was “used in addressing or referring to an important or high-ranking person, especially a magistrate or mayor,” and this word has also meant “honor given to someone in recognition of their merit.”
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” (Psalm 95:6 NIV)
While the idea of genuinely worshipping God from our heart may be foreign to many these days, we still worship, because we were created to do so. Anyone who has ever been to a popular music concert can attest that the maddening frenzy of a particular band’s cult following is nothing short of worship. A young person may worship someone of the opposite gender, as the phrase “worshipping the ground he or she walks on” suggests. Some may worship political leaders, such as the Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung and others, holding them in inordinately high esteem because of their power or perceived merits, and others may even worship charismatic religious leaders. But what does God say about all this?
At the end of the prophetic last book of the Bible, the writer John, says:
“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I bowed down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed these things to me. But the angel said to me, “Do not worship me! I am a servant like you, your brothers the prophets, and all those who obey the words in this book. Worship God!”” (Revelation 22:8-9 NCV)
Anyone who has ever read or tried to read the book of Revelations knows that John was shown amazing, fearful, and marvelous revelations. His response of attempting to worship at the feet of the angelic being who had shown him these things was nothing you or I would not do under the same circumstances–yet he was stopped and corrected! “Do not worship me! I am a servant like you, your brothers the prophets, and all those who obey the words in this book. Worship God!”
The only One in all of creation and beyond worthy of our genuine worship is the one, true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We err greatly when we attribute to anything or anyone else the praise and worship He alone deserves! Yet, even though most of us in the Western world may not actually bow down to to physically worship another human being, there may be times when we find ourselves beginning to put too much hope in something or someone other than God.
The ironic thing is that we all want heros–hence the popularity of super-heros like Spider-Man, Ironman, Batman, Superman and others in entertainment! We love it when we can feel that there is someone strong enough to stand up for us and to plead our case and fight for our cause–a vicarious “older sibling” to face up to our bullies. Yet while some people we look to may do better than others and a few might even do quite well, ultimately there is but One who will never fail, and He is Jesus Christ. On the cross, He conquered for us the ultimate bullies we could not–sin, death and the devil!
“And you, being dead in your trespasses…He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)
The book of Hebrews explains it like this:
“Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT)
He is our real Hero–and the only One we can rightly and completely put our faith and trust in; even the best of all others will ultimately disappoint. Yet, regardless of who or what else fails us, the Son of God, our Savior, never will because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
So, what or whom do you worship and reverence? Whom do you really value and put your utmost trust in? If it is God, you’re on the right track!
Help us bow down in worship; help us kneel before You, the Lord our Maker in recognition of all You are and everything You have done for us! Amen.