I, John, am the one who saw and heard all these things. And when I saw and heard these things, I fell down to worship the angel who showed them to me. But again he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this scroll. Worship God!” — Revelation 22:8-9
Despairing parents, on noting their sons’ behavior, have been known to say, with a note of resignation in their voice, “Boys will be boys.” Others have pointed out, “Boys will be boys, but if you’re patient, boys will be men.” Even so, most men would admit to there being a little boy lurking somewhere in their mature masculinity.
Take hero worship, for example. It is understandable when boys wear the sportswear popularized by their favorite superstars, but it is rather surprising when a middle-aged stockbroker wears similar clothes on weekends. Perhaps men never really grow out of hero worship. It may be that men see in those whose lives are larger than life something attractive to which they aspire, something appealing that they admire.
This may very well be harmless enough, but John’s worship of the angel who guided him through the intricacies and mysteries of his vision was unacceptable. John records, “When I saw and heard these things, I fell down to worship the angel who showed them to me” (Revelation 22:8). A clear case of hero worship of the highest order! But the angel said to him, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this scroll. Worship God!” (22:9). John’s hero worship elicited two responses. First, he must not worship an angel. Second, he must worship God alone.
Many modern sports heroes would never be confused with angels, so the adulation that is all too often heaped upon them is misplaced—particularly if those who indulge in hero worship fail to recognize that worship is reserved exclusively for God, to whom it rightfully belongs. “Worship God!” was the angel’s brief but unambiguous order. It is a brief and unambiguous word for modern men, too.
It is interesting to note throughout the book of Revelation how often worship is associated with “falling down” (see Revelation 4:10; 5:8; 7:11; 19:10; 22:8). This suggests that when a man rightly understands who God is, he will be awestruck by the discovery. When a man recognizes what it means to worship, he will humbly and joyfully prostrate himself at the master’s feet in a posture of willing submission and service.
The angel connected two vital themes in his instructions about worship. He explained how true worship issues from an obedient heart. When former hero-worshipers become true worshipers, they, in turn, become the real heroes their youngsters need to emulate as they learn to worship the one truly worth worshiping.
For further study: Revelation 22:1-21
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.