What a piece of work

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a god!”  William Shakespeare, “Hamlet,” Act 2 Scene 2.

Not a word or a phrase of the above is true. Man is not infinite. Man is not righteous and not perfect. Man is not sinless or faultless. Man is not worthy of adulation.

Yet, it is puzzling that when men meet they sometimes engage in the worship of one another. Man was never the measure until men start taking measure of each other. Then, individual men were singled out and raised to a lofty perch. Some of them might say, “I would never allow anyone to place me on a pedestal and adore me!” Perhaps not if an actual throne was to be used, but there are some who will allow others to elevate them if, maybe, just a little.

In two places in Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:9, John fell at the feet of an angel and was rebuked. The angel said in both instances, “Do not do that.” If it was inappropriate to worship an angel, and if John was instructed to worship God, then who are we to worship men? Who are we to place men on an elevated platform and pay homage to them?

James wrote, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment,” (James 3:1 NASB). Why? Because the responsibility of a teacher is greater. The teacher steps out in front of his brethren and asks them to respect his word. If that teaching is from the word of God, then it is God who is put forward in his word. If that teaching is the word of men, then a man is thrust out in front and potentially glorified.