WORSHIP SONG FIVE
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”
Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, singing,
“We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty,
who are and who were,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 11:15-18
What are your thoughts, your feelings when you hear that God is coming to judge the world? Few of us welcome the prospect of standing before a judge. In the modern West we hear the word “judge” and we usually think of someone wearing a black robe, looking at us sternly, pointing a finger and handing down a judgment against us. It’s pretty scary!
But the thought of standing before a judge in Biblical times stirred very different thoughts and feelings. Princeton theologian Patrick Miller writes about the positive image that the judge had in the Bible:
Rather than the understanding of God as judge being a negative image for the righteous, it is the only hope, the court of last resort…When the human systems of justice and administration fail to deliver the oppressed, they cry out for help and vindication, for a right judgment by God. (They Cried to the Lord: The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer)
Again and again in Scripture for God to act as judge means for Him to save His people. “Throughout the Bible those who experience God’s deliverance experience it through judgment.” (James M. Hamilton, “The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment”: The Center for Biblical Theology, Tyndale Bulletin, vol. 57) In fact there is a whole book in the Bible called “Judges” that tells of God raising up “saviors” or “judges” like Gideon, Deborah, Ehud and Barak to save Israel from her enemies. “Then the LORD raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of those who plundered them” (Judges 2:16).
Thus the psalmists repeatedly rejoice and praise God for His promise to come and judge the world: “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice…exult…sing for joy before the LORD; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth” (Psalm 96:11-13). To know God as judge is to know that He is coming to set things right; He is coming to restore all that is broken. Therefore, “Let Mount Zion be glad, let the towns of Judah rejoice because of your judgements” (Psalm 48:11). God’s judgment means no more oppression, no more suffering, no more pain, no more sorrow. No more hospitals, prisons, cemeteries. God is coming to judge the world!
And yet, Eugene Peterson points out:
…many of us have stopped thinking about the future. Fear of the bomb and an unthinkable holocaust drives us to squeeze what we can from the present…Unlike people today, New Testament Christians eagerly awaited and longed for the future.They believed the complete reign of Christ on earth was a more certain reality than the seeming victory of evil. (Introducing Revelation)
In today’s worship song we see that God has appointed a day for judging, and “destroying those who destroy the earth”. “This is the ultimate meaning of God’s judgement…for his wonderful creation to be rescued from the forces of anti-matter, of anti-creation, of anti-life. It is a time for death to die.” (N. T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone)
God will be our helper! He will be our judge, overcoming the powers of darkness and death. “Rise up, O judge of the earth” (Psalm 94:2). Come, Lord Jesus and help your people! We worship you!
READ ALOUD Revelation 11:15-18
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.