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Lent 2016 Devotional—March 4

Lent 2016 Devotional—March 4

WORSHIP SONG FIVE

Cover of Lent 2015 Devotional Book from Water from RockRevelation 11:15-18

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.”

March 4th

See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional

PRAY

READ ALOUD Revelation 11:15-18

REFLECT

Albert Einstein was asked what the most important question was he would like answered. The question weighing on Einstein was not about atoms and relativity, but a question about meaning and purpose in life. Einstein said:

I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning. (Robert Dilts, Strategies of Genius, Volume 2: Albert Einstein)

Einstein then declared: “God does not play dice with the universe.”

The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the answer to Einstein’s question about meaning and purpose. The Revelation is an apocalypse, a pulling back of the veil to show us that God is not playing dice with the universe. We are not left victims to chance. God is working His “plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10).

Today’s worship song gives a glimpse of heaven’s redeemed people rising from their thrones and falling before God’s throne. They worship 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.”

They worship God as “God Almighty” (Greek: Pantokrator), a translation of the Hebrew Bible’s title, El Shaddai. In Genesis 17:1 the pre-incarnate Jesus appears to Abraham and reveals Himself to him as, “I am God Almighty” (El Shaddai). That is why Jesus could say to religious leaders in Jerusalem: “Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Abraham saw Jesus and knew Him as El Shaddai, and so we know Him and worship Him today.

In the second century B. C. when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, El Shaddai was translated as the Greek Pantokrator, “Almighty God”. The Greek Pantokrator pictures Jesus as sustaining all things and holding all things together. The Book of Hebrews says, “He sustains all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). As God Almighty, the Pantokrator, Jesus is always present with us, always active in every situation we face.

The apostle reveals that in Jesus, “all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). In the beginning, there is Jesus; in the midst of life, there is Jesus; at the end, there is Jesus. He is the Pantokrator, supreme over all.

The redeemed in heaven praise God, “who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” Notably, they praise Him as “who are and who were…” However, earlier in The Revelation Jesus announces Himself as, “the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). But now Jesus is no longer the one who “is to come”, for He has come and begun to reign. The saints praise Jesus as “‘Who Is and Who Was’, because the future has now arrived in the present. The ‘is to come’ has become reality.” (N. T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone)

To answer Mr. Einstein’s urgent question, God is not playing dice with the universe or with our lives. God is working all things together for our eternal good that we might forever share His glory (Romans 8:28-30). What an incredible God we worship. He alone is worthy of our lives and praise. “We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty…

READ ALOUD Revelation 11:15-18

WORSHIP

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.

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