And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. – Rev. 19:10 KJV
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The act of bowing which ordinarily should be seen as a simple act of showing respect may seem ordinary to man but seems to have very great significance in the spiritual space especially in relation with the Almighty God. Bowing is the simple act of bending the head or the upper part of the body in a show of respect or greeting to someone who is believed to be of higher status. It may also be an act done in shame or humiliation but as simple as it looks, it seems like an act that carries great weight in the spirit realm. No wonder the Almighty God instructed the Israelites in particular and all who believe in Him to avoid bowing to any carved image of anything in heaven or on earth – Exo. 20:4-5. This warning in the mind of Naaman, the powerful Syrian warrior, was probably why in committing his total loyalty to the Lord, he pleaded with the Him to make an exemption for him on those occasions when he had to bow down for his master when the latter was worshipping before his god – 2Kgs. 5:18.
The disciple John, who was the last surviving disciple of Jesus Christ was imprisoned in the Island of Patmos when he was shown several visions, first about the state of the seven churches in Asia followed by the events of the last days. On two of those occasions marking the events of the last days, he had the privilege to see the greatness of the Lord and in awe of what he saw, he took the decision to bow in worship to the angel who had all the while been facilitating all these visions – Rev. 19:10; 22:8. Even though the reaction of the angel on both occasions, to this action of John the Disciple was the same, both form the foundation of today’s Devotional.
John on that occasion, which was describing some of the events of the last days, had heard the voice of many people in heaven chanting Halleluyah and ascribing Salvation, Glory, Honour and Power unto the Lord – Rev. 19:1. Also chanting Halleluyah was a gathering of twenty-four elders and four beasts that fell down and worshipped the Almighty God who was seated on a throne – Rev. 19:4. All these were in acknowledgement of the true and righteous judgement of the Lord implemented on the great whore, who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and the avenging of the blood of his servants that were shed by hand – Rev. 19:2. In addition to the earlier two groups was also the sound of a great multitude who were also chanting Halleluyah, from an unidentified location, in acknowledgement of the reign of the omnipotent God – Rev. 19:6.
It therefore seemed logical for the disciple John that he should also bow, especially when a voice that accompanied all these revelations, asked that all who admit to being servants of the Lord and equally fear Him, irrespective of their status, to praise the Lord – Rev. 19:5. He advised that all in this group should rejoice, be glad and give honour to the Almighty God because of the coming to reality of the marriage of the lamb whose bride had prepared herself ready for the occasion and the Almighty God thus granted that she be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white as a demonstration of the righteousness of the saints– Rev. 19:7-8, Eph. 5:22-33; 2Cor. 11:2.
Witnessing all these events must have been really overwhelming for John and in obedience to the advise from the voice he heard, he did what most people in his situation will do, which was to do what he had witnessed others doing except that although his act was physically similar to what all the people he saw were doing, the scripture today revealed that he was bowing to the angel that was used to facilitate this revelations. That scripture reports John himself as saying, “…and I fell at his feet to worship him.”. No wonder the angel quickly rebuked him letting him know his true status which was that he was no different from him as he was just a fellow servant like him and a bearer of the testimony of Jesus Christ like all others who bear similar testimonies.
The angel not only saved himself from destruction by rejecting the glory that belongs solely to the Almighty God but also provided knowledge about one of the greatest challenges of the Christian today. The angel could have been easily consumed in a manner similar to the consuming of Herod by worms sent by the Lord had he not done the needful – Acts 12:18-25. He chose to do the right thing by reacting like Paul and Barnabas did, when the people of Lystra decided to deify them for actions that were facilitated by the Almighty God – Acts 14:11-13. As far as men could see, John was bowing down in worship to the Almighty God but the angel and John knew whom the bowing was for.
Most Christians and their leaders today are guilty of this misdemeanor. It is not so much with the ignorant followers as it is with the leaders who know the source of the power of what they demonstrated but refuse to give honour to whom honour is due. Most people are actually doing all that they are doing in the house of the Lord to catch the attention of their religious leader and masters but give the impression that the Almighty God is the focus of their worship. Such group of people should know that they are nothing but idolaters and adulterers. In one breathe, they profess their allegiance to the Lord whilst in another, they seek to satisfy the interest of their human gods. They definitely cannot be dressed in the white linen which is the clothe of those who are righteous. They get involved in the physical of worship of the Lord but their mind and soul is sold out to their human gods. The caution of the angel for John is also applicable to them. The angel had told John that;
1. He may have facilitated all the revelation that John witnessed but he is not deserving of the glory for such revelations as he is not the originator. Likewise, such Christians need recognise the Lord as the only power behind all that their spiritual leader is demonstrating.
2. The one that is deserving of all the glory is the Almighty God since He, it is that is behind all that John witnessed. He is also the one that the Christian today must give all the glory to for all those spiritual exploits of the leader.
3. His physical bowing will not be as significant as the thoughts he bore whilst bowing. The Christian today must also realize this which is that both the physical activity and the thoughts must be focused on the Almighty God.
Today’s Christian needs to be very clear minded as to whom he/she is worshipping. The one that is being worshipped is that one that occupies the thoughts when the act of worship is on-going. Should that personality not be the Almighty God, then such can lay no claims to worshiping God simply because of the act of worship or being in the location dedicated for the worship of God. Align your act of worship with your thoughts as that remains the only way that your worship can be effective. May God help us guide our thoughts during our worship so that it can be effective and acceptable in Jesus name. Amen.