WORSHIP SONG EIGHT (Part 2)
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
Salvation and glory and power to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
he has judged the great whore
who corrupted the earth with her fornication,
and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
Once more they said,
The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.”
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying,
And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
and all who fear him,
small and great.”
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready;
to her it has been granted to be clothed
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 19:1-8
We often talk about things we really care about in feminine terms. So sailors speak of their ships in the feminine: “She’s a good ship.” Patriots talk about their homeland as Motherland and as feminine: “God bless America! Stand beside her and guide her.” We even personify as feminine abstract qualities such as Liberty, Freedom, Justice and Liberty. It is Lady Liberty who looks out on New York Harbor while Lady Justice stands guard at the Supreme Court. Even my car is described in the feminine, “She runs really well.” We talk about such things and concepts as though they were women.
When we come to the Bible we see the power of the feminine. For instance, the book of Proverbs personifies wisdom as a woman calling out: “Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? …Come, eat my bread and drink the wine I have mixed” (Proverbs 8:1; 9:5). Read on in the book and you will feel the sweet attraction of Lady Wisdom wooing admirers. On the other hand there is the seductive, beguiling attraction of the “foolish woman” also calling out to the young and gullible: “You who are simple, turn in here!” (Proverbs 9:16). Proverbs warns readers to flee the foolish woman and run straight into the arms of wisdom.
In The Revelation all the godless empires of ‘Babylon’ are personified as “the great whore”. But God’s faithful, the Church, is Christ’s chaste “bride”. Here are two contraries people live for and love. In today’s text we see God’s destruction of the “great whore” and His preparation for the marriage of the Lamb to His bride. John hears a voice from the throne saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants and all who fear him, small and great.” The rejoicing of heaven for God’s destruction of the “great whore” spills out upon the earth. Earth answers back with its own “Hallelujah!” It is the sound of a “great multitude” that John likens to “the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals”. Never has such a choir been heard on earth. With a great voice they cry out: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.”
At the destruction of the “great whore” God is worshipped as “the Almighty”. The word is the Greek pantokrator, the one who holds all things together. The Almighty, the pantokrator, is the characteristic title for God in The Revelation (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 16:14; 19:6; 19:15; 21:22). William Barclay writes about the importance of knowing “our God” as the Almighty, the pantokrator:
There was never a time in history in which such forces were drawn up against the Church as when the Revelation was written. There was never a time when the Christian was called upon to undergo such suffering and to accept so continually the prospect of a cruel death. And yet in such times John calls God pantokrator. Here is faith and confidence; and the whole point of this passage is that faith and confidence are vindicated. (Revelation: Daily Study Bible)
Here are faith and great confidence for John’s first century readers and readers of any century facing the great whore and tribulation. God invites us to the marriage of the Lamb to His bride, where we will forever celebrate and sing: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory.”
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READ ALOUD Revelation 19:1-8
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.