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
During the final days of World War II, German pastor Helmut Thielicke looked out each week on a congregation beset with fear and uncertainty. Bombs were falling on their city, the Third Reich was crumbling, and Allied occupation coming. It was at such a time that the faithful Lutheran pastor liked to contemplate and preach the coming of Christ: “We do not know what is coming, but we know who is coming. The final hour belongs to us. We have no fear of the next minutes.” (Helmut Thielicke, Being a Christian When the Chips Are Down)
We do not know what is coming, but we do know that Jesus is coming. From the church’s first days we have prayed “Maranatha” (“Come Lord”). When Christian leaders from East and West came together at the Council of Nicaea in A. D. 325 to affirm the one true faith, they declared their faith in Christ’s coming. Standing united, they affirmed: “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”
In today’s worship song from The Revelation, the elders around heaven’s throne are praising God for Christ’s coming in glory: “We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” Here we see all our prayers answered for God to come and to set things right. He is coming!
The elders are thanking God because “the nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants.” On God’s calendar He has set the day for bringing justice to our unjust, broken world. It will be just as the ancient prophet Isaiah foretold centuries earlier in sublime poetic imagery: “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed” (Isaiah 40:4-5).
The coming of the Lord to judge the world and reward His faithful is essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament book of Acts the apostle Peter tells how God has commanded them to declare Christ’s coming: “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he [Christ] is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).
Out of the 404 verses in The Revelation, there are 348 allusions to the Old Testament, and in this song we have two of those allusions. (Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation) Today’s worship song of the elders echoes Psalm 2 in which God mocks the “raging” of world powers against Him: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed [Messiah]…He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision” (Psalm 2:1-2, 4). A few verses later in the psalm God commits the judgment of nations to His Son, His Messiah; the Son need only to ask: “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron…” (Psalm 2:8-9).
We do not know what is coming, but we know Who is coming! And we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus! Come and set our world right!”
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.