WORSHIP SONG FOUR
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 7:9-17
Celtic Christians used to talk about the “thin places”, those places where the space between heaven and earth is so thin that we can see all the way through to heaven. We might discover a “thin place” as we walk in the woods, see the Milky Way, watch a baby being born, or listen to Beethoven’s Ninth. But worship is the thinnest place of all. “Whatever else worship may be, it is an anticipation of the life and worship of heaven, something that sustains believers through the long pilgrimage of faith.” (Alister McGrath, Theology: The Basics)
You don’t have to be a first century Christian facing the Roman juggernaut of persecution to delight in being lifted out of temporal existence into eternal joy. Right now in worship we can “anticipate a glorious future that is already dawning on the horizon and that exercises a transforming effect on life in the present.” (Stanley Grenz, Celebrating Eternity: Christian Worship As a Foretaste of Participation in the Triune God) That’s why the psalmist testified, “a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10). Worship renews and fortifies. When hard times come God’s people instinctively want to worship, for worship renews, encourages and strengthens. Coming into God’s presence for worship we “look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Jesus sought to prepare and embolden His followers for difficult days by forewarning them: “Then they will hand you over to be tortured and you will be put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name” (Matthew 24:9). From a cold, dank dungeon Paul wrote his farewell, reminding that “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Perhaps you are facing some kind of pushback or persecution because of your devotion to Christ. The point of today’s worship song from The Revelation “is to affirm that even though evil must be allowed to come to its full height, in order eventually to be fully and finally overthrown, God will not allow this process to put in jeopardy the ultimate rescue of his true people.” (N. T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone)
To encourage readers then and now as they struggle, God pulls back the veil on heaven’s grand victory celebration. He shows us a “great multitude that no one can count” rejoicing in the Lamb’s bold rescue of His people. This numberless, incalculable multitude fulfills God’s ancient promise to Abraham of a redeemed people as the number of the stars (Genesis 15:5), and as the sand of the sea (Genesis 32:12). That’s how measureless, how inestimable God’s saving grace will be! “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways” (Romans 11:33).
READ ALOUD Revelation 7:9-17
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.