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
Cartoonist Gary Larson expressed the thoughts of many about heaven in one of his “Far Side” cartoons. He shows a man wearing a halo and angel wings floating on a cloud and doing nothing. The man’s expression in the cartoon is like that of a man stranded on a desert island with nothing to do. A caption shows what the man is thinking: “Wish I’d brought a magazine.” (Randy Alcorn, Heaven)
Having preached quite a few sermons about heaven, as well as serving as a hospice chaplain, I can say that people are often reluctant to talk about heaven. It’s as if they think heaven will be boring and anti-climactic – a big cosmic letdown. How can joy go on forever and ever?
Today’s Scripture reveals heaven as forever heavenly! We see here glorified saints, washed white in the blood of the Lamb as they “are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night in the temple.” To stand before the throne of God signifies a place of the highest glory and honor. Heaven will be more than everlasting rest from earth’s anxious toil; it will be a place of privileged service before the throne. Jesus did promise that any who serve him faithfully will be rewarded with honored service. “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). N. T. Wright seeks to encourage readers of The Revelation to faithful service:
Forget those images about lounging around playing harps. There will be work to do and we shall relish doing it. All the skills and talents we have put to God’s service in this present life…will be enhanced and ennobled and given back to us to be exercised to His glory. (Surprised by Hope)
Rescued from all the constraints of mortality, redeemed saints need no rest or sleep. Rather, they are recreated to serve God “day and night”. And as they serve God, “the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them…” Significantly, the Greek word translated “shelter”, skenoo, means that God “pitches His tent” or “tabernacles” over them. John uses this word to remind us of God metaphorically pitching His “tent” over His people in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34-38; Leviticus 26:11-12). His presence is a shelter over them from anything that would harm or hinder life. David and other psalmists frequently draw on this sheltering imagery: “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent” (Psalm 27:5). The saints have been brought through the “great ordeal”: “They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat.”
As a pastor and chaplain I have witnessed many people breathe their last. Often I felt I was standing on the holy ground where heaven intersects earth, and eternity encompasses time. There was one gentleman who in his final moments smiled and kept repeating, “Almost home! Almost home! Almost home!”
Heaven is far, far more than floating around on a cloud playing a harp! It is to worship and share in the very life and glory of God. Today as we worship we taste that eternal joy. Almost home!
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.