WORSHIP SONG TWO
After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,
“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 4
Thomas à Kempis in his book, The Imitation of Christ, writes about our need to live with double vision, or keeping one eye on the world and one eye on heaven. He says: “The sons of God standing on things present, do contemplate those things that are eternal. They look on transitory things with the left eye, and with the right do behold things of heaven.” The worship songs of The Revelation can help us live with that double vision. They help us see through this transient, tortured world all the way through into heaven, the sphere of ultimate reality. Like the old hymn they can help us understand:
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
the battle is not done.
(Maltbie D. Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World”)
Day and night the four living creatures around the throne are singing: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God the Almighty.” The title they ascribe to God is “the Almighty”, a translation of the Greek pantokrator. It is a compound word formed from the Greek word for “all” and the Greek word meaning “to sustain” and “to accomplish”. It means that God has everything in hand! He accomplishes all that He sets out to accomplish!
Imagine what it might have meant to John’s first century readers to know that the Lord God is “the Almighty”, the Pantokrator! He “accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will” (Ephesians 1:11). They are mocked, hunted down, persecuted, and tortured, but they will conquer! They can know, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
With God-breathed ‘double vision’ John helps us to see that those who suffer for Christ’s sake are conquerors, clothed in white robes, and singing: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory, and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
Recently my wife Rita and I spent time with a young Iraqi Christian family forced to flee their home in Iraq because of ISIS persecution. In fact, their hometown in Iraq has been wiped off the map by ISIS. But we were and continue to be struck by how this family has lived with that ‘double vision’; they have had one eye on persecution and suffering, but their other eye fixed on God’s throne. As we talked with them about God, the young mother did not understand my English words “Holy Spirit”. Then she looked up “Holy Spirit” in her Arabic-English dictionary and glowed with excitement, saying: “Ah, the Holy Spirit! Ah, yes, Power! Energy!” That’s how they have experienced God’s faithful presence with them. Through persecution, poverty, and homelessness, they have known God as “the Almighty”, the Pantokrator! He who created all things, accomplishes all things, is faithfully bringing His creation to its completion! “You are worthy, our Lord and God!”
READ ALOUD Revelation 4
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.