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

 

A cross and life preserver on a beachside hill.In the final verses of Revelation, we observe a scene that reminds us to give ourselves completely to God and God alone. It comes after the vision given to John, the writer of Revelation, had ended. He was so moved by what he had seen that John “fell down to worship at the feet of the angel” who had shown the vision to him (22:8). But the angel rebuked John, saying, “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!” (22:9).

When we worship God, we offer ourselves completely to God, acknowledging God’s sovereignty over us.

 

The Greek verb translated here as “worship” has a literal sense of kneeling or bowing before someone or something as a gesture of honor and submission. This was the posture used in the ancient world when subjects approached kings or queens. They got down on their knees, bowing their heads to the ground, as a way of acknowledging the supreme authority of the ruler before them. Their action said, in effect, “You are the sovereign over me and my life. I offer myself to you in respect and obedience.”

The biblical language for worship, in both the Old and New Testaments, draws upon this sense of submission and self-offering. When we worship God, we offer ourselves completely to God, acknowledging God’s sovereignty over us. Worship is more than telling God how wonderful he is. It is more than singing songs of praise. These actions are rightly central to our worship traditions. But, they are expressions of the deeper reality of worship, in which we offer, not just our words to God, but our very lives, all that we are.

In tomorrow’s devotion I’d like to reflect with you on some implications of this truth for our work. Now, let me invite you to take time to examine your own life and worship. Perhaps the following questions will help.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

How do you understand worship? When you think of worshiping God, what images, ideas, or feelings come to mind?

When you engage in acts of worship, whether in church or in your personal devotions, do you sense that you are giving yourself fully to God?

What helps you to offer your whole life to God?

PRAYER:

Gracious God, thank you for the clear words of the angel to John, words we need to hear as well: “Worship God!” Help us to worship you, not only by offering words that honor you, but also by giving ourselves to you fully, without holding anything back.

Even today, as I go about my work, may I offer all that I am to you. May you be glorified in my life, in all I do and say, in all I think and feel. Amen.