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
We live in a culture of celebrity worship. Things have gotten so bad that there is a new psychological diagnosis called CWS, or Celebrity Worship Syndrome. We have our entertainment and sports gods and goddesses. We even go on a weekly TV quest for the next American Idol. And if we are not worshipping people, we are worshipping money, power, status, sex, ideology and the things money can buy.
In one sense this ought not surprise us because anthropologists say Homo sapiens are also Homo religiosus. We are, after all, “incurably religious.” (Louis Henry Jordan, Comparative Religion: Its Genesis and Growth) Created in the very image of God, we are desperate to fill the God-shaped vacuum within us. If we don’t worship God, we will worship anything. Just look around.
John’s first century readers live in a culture where people worship many idols, including Caesar. They worship him as Kyrios, “Lord”, and hail him with shouts of vere dignus, “you are worthy”. Christians are regularly faced with the fateful decision of confessing, “Caesar is Lord”, or, “Jesus is Lord”. The decision they make could mean torture, facing lions, crucifixion or beheading.
In The Revelation of Jesus Christ we are lifted up before the throne to see all earth from heaven’s perspective. There we see glorified martyrs, saints and angels worshipping God as the One who is “worthy”, vere dignus. Only God is worthy of worship.
Our English word “worship” comes from the Old English woerthship, modified to “worthship”, and, finally, worship. To worship is to attribute worth to anyone or anything. True Biblical worship is “giving God all he’s worth.” (N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth) We declare not just with our lips but with our lives and devotion that God alone is worthy. “Worship is not passive; but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is a declaration.” (Ron Allen and Gordon Borror, Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel)
But why is it that God must be worshipped? Why is it that God must be chosen above Caesar, money, success, or career? God seeks our worship not because He is incomplete until He gets it, but because we are incomplete until we give it. Just as my car runs only on gasoline, we were created to run only on God. Like flowers open to the sun, so our lives open to God. The sun does not need the flowers, but the flowers need the sun.
How wonderful the prospect! How wonderful the promise! We will forever get to center our lives on the God who is infinite beauty, goodness, and love! We will worship and enjoy Him forever! And we can begin that now, as we worship the One who alone is worthy!
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.