WORSHIP SONG SEVEN
Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.
And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations!
Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed.”
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 15:1-4
The ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope instructed his pupils to bury him face down upon his death. When asked his reason for such a strange request, Diogenes replied: “Because the whole world is upside down and one day will be turned right-side-up.” From the moment Adam and Eve exited the Garden the world has been upside down, out of whack, topsy-turvy. That’s why we long so for justice, to see things put right, to mend our terribly broken world.
Today’s text reveals the grand day God puts the world right and mends all that is broken. As the number seven in the Bible signifies perfection and completeness, so we see here the perfection and completeness of God’s wrath against that which would destroy His people and His creation: “seven angels with seven plagues…” This scene marks the time when “the wrath of God is ended”, or as The Message renders it, “the wrap-up of the wrath of God.” The wrath of God reaches its intended goal as all that would destroy life is forever put away. All the nations of the world will see and worship the Lord as His “judgements are revealed.”
Perhaps we are reluctant to talk about the wrath of God, but “We need to take the Biblical witness to the wrath of God with utter seriousness. And we must, of course, do so without losing sight of divine love.” (Thomas McCall, “Forsaken”: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why It Matters) The prophet Isaiah describes God rising up in wrathful judgment to do His “strange work”, a work that is “alien” to Him (Isaiah 28:21). Swiss theologian Emil Brunner says that “the wrath of God is not the ultimate reality, it is the divine reality which corresponds to sin. But it is not the ultimate reality of God. In Himself God is love.” (The Mediator) Wrath is foreign to God’s nature but will be poured out on that which destroys His people.
The Old Testament repeatedly affirms God’s reluctance to do His “strange work” of exercising wrath. He delights, rather, in showing mercy (e.g. Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 30:5; 86:15; 145:8-9). In both the Old and New Testaments God’s holy love and wrath are never portrayed as opposites, but work together to accomplish His saving purpose.
God’s wrath is His response to any evil that would harm us. Today we worship God because He will turn right our upside-down world. He will mend all that is broken, and wipe away every tear. “Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations!”
READ ALOUD Revelation 15:1-4
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.