WORSHIP SONG ONE
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be.
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 1:5b-7
I had a seminary professor who often sought to turn our minds from theologizing to worship. He wanted to conclude a long hour of talking about God by talking with God. He would lower the lights and call us to worship. Following his example I try more and more to punctuate my day with moments of worship. I like to put down whatever I am doing and turn my thoughts and affections to God. I find that when I do that, worship “is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in worship.” (Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction) So in The Revelation the apostle John turns repeatedly from visions of cosmic drama to worship.
John’s worship song is actually a doxology, a term derived from doxa, the Greek word for glory, as when John sings, “to him be glory”. The New Testament is filled with beautiful doxologies stirring us to worship (e.g. Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:5; Philippians 4:20; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 4:11; 5:13; 7:12).
The purpose of this daily devotional is doxology. The purpose of all Bible study, theologizing, and preaching is doxology: “to him be the glory”. Theologian J. I. Packer emphasizes the importance of doxology in our lives:
The older I get, the more I want to sing my faith and get others singing it with me. Theology, as I constantly tell my students, is for doxology: the first thing to do with it is to turn it into praise and thus honour the God who is its subject, the God in whose presence and by whose help it is worked out. (God Has Spoken)
In his doxology John turns from Christ’s love for us now, to the past when Jesus “freed us from our sins by his blood”. John points us to the historic, climactic, world-changing event of the cross. John himself had stood before Jesus’ cross and heard His victor’s cry, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). It is done! It is paid for! It is accomplished! Christ the great liberator has set us free, saving us from sin by His sacrificial death.
One day Bishop Handley Moule, Professor of Theology and Dean at Cambridge University, was traveling by train. A young Salvation Army girl got into his train compartment, and when she was settled asked: “Sir, are you saved?” The kindly scholar looked at her and said, “Do you mean, ‘Have I been saved?’, ‘Am I being saved?’, or ‘Will I be saved?’ When the bishop saw the puzzled look on the girl’s face, he explained the three tenses of a believer’s salvation. He told her how Jesus’ blood saved us in the past from the penalty of sin; how in the present His blood saves us from the power of sin, and how in the future Christ will, in His coming, save us from sin’s very presence. (T. Austin Sparks, What It Means to Be A Christian) What a great lesson a wise man taught the young girl that day. It is theology that can turn our hearts to worship and encourage us for difficult times. “To him be glory…”!
READ ALOUD Revelation 1:5b-7
HOW TO USE THIS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
This daily Lenten devotional takes up eight songs of worship from The Revelation. It is significant that this is the only book in the Bible promising a blessing on those who read it, specifically: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy” (Revelation 1:3 NRSV). Each section of this devotional presents a song for your audible reading, reflection and worship. Each day you will:
- PRAY asking God to bless this time you devote to Him
- READ ALOUD the worship song and text for the day
- REFLECT on the daily reading
- READ ALOUD again the worship song and text for the day
- WORSHIP God each day in a way that is meaningful for you. The way in which you worship might vary day to day. Depending on the day, you might choose to talk with God about what you are thinking and feeling about the song, or meditate on the worship song, or intercede for others, or sing, or be silent before God. Ask God to guide you.
We pray that God use these worship songs of The Revelation to reveal His glory to you and bless you as you center your life in Him.