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
The walls of Rome’s ancient catacombs display the world’s oldest surviving Christian art. Rome’s fierce persecution of Christians literally drove them underground as they hid in the very catacombs where Romans buried their dead. In this labyrinthine network of tunnels they often escaped Roman soldiers and people wanting to turn them in to the authorities. On these tunnel walls Christians left expressions of their faith in paintings, mosaics and reliefs. One of the most often repeated symbols of faith in the catacombs is the Good Shepherd caring for His sheep. Sometimes the Shepherd is portrayed carrying the sheep on His shoulder, and sometimes leading it by His side. Christians must have remembered Jesus’ words recorded by John in his gospel: “I am the good shepherd…And I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14,15).
Drawing upon the poignant Shepherd imagery, John morphs the Lamb into a Shepherd leading His flock: “for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd…” Here is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s tender prophecy of Messiah: “He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep” (Isaiah 40:11). The Lamb assumes the role of the Shepherd God in Psalm 23 as He leads and cares for His flock.
We next see the Lamb Shepherd as he guides His flock “to the springs of the water of life” (see also Isaiah 55:1; John 7:38-39). This is not just a spring, but it is “springs” of the water of life. It flows in extravagance. The Revelation will later reveal the water of life as “bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1). The Book of The Revelation will conclude with the Lamb making yet another offer of living water: “And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift” (Revelation 22:17b). You are an “anyone”, so that includes you! If you are thirsty for real life, drink!
This beatific vision climaxes with one of the most stirring, most reassuring promises in Scripture: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Yet, as C. S. Lewis explains, it is difficult for us “mortals” to understand or imagine God wiping away all our tears. Lewis says that it is difficult for us to understand or even imagine heaven’s bliss making up for our pain and suffering here. That is because, “Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even agony into glory.” (C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce) We will experience the reality of what the apostle Paul writes: “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Here is the reality for any who suffer in the first century or any century:
The reality is that the people who claim the lamb’s protection may well have to come through a time of great suffering, but they will find themselves in the true reality, in God’s throne room, worshipping and serving him day and night with great, abundant and exuberant joy. (N. T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone)
Let anyone who would claim the Lamb’s protection, come! Let anyone who thirsts for the water of life, come! Let anyone come and worship!
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.