WORSHIP SONG EIGHT (Part 2)
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
Salvation and glory and power to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
he has judged the great whore
who corrupted the earth with her fornication,
and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
Once more they said,
The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.”
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying,
And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
and all who fear him,
small and great.”
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready;
to her it has been granted to be clothed
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
See the bottom of this post for how to use this daily devotional
READ ALOUD Revelation 19:1-8
One of my delights as a minister is to often have a ringside seat at a wedding. I get to watch up close as two lovers gaze into each other’s eyes and make their promises of undying love and faithfulness. For many it does seem to become a moment of total self-forgetfulness and blending into the other. I count it one of the perks of the ministerial profession to see the couple weeks before the wedding, then at the rehearsal and on their big day. I think that’s one reason I am so drawn to this scene of the Marriage of the Lamb and His Bride.
Brides give a lot of planning and care to what they will wear at their wedding, so today’s worship song understandingly gives attention to how the Bride of the Lamb is dressed. The “great multitude” in heaven rejoices in seeing that the Bride “has made herself ready…clothed with fine linen, bright and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” There are lots of oohs and aahs and exclamations as the Bride is presented to Christ.
The “great multitude” notes that the Bride “has made herself ready”, and thus brings out our responsibility in preparing ourselves to one day stand before Christ. This is no reluctant bride. She is ready! Her wedding gown is of “fine linen”, described as “the righteous deeds of the saints.”
Yet, her diligent preparation to stand before Christ is not the whole story, as there is also God’s part in her preparation. God’s part is brought out in the next statement: “to her it has been granted to be clothed in fine linen…”
“Though in one sense she ‘made herself ready’, having by the Spirit’s work in her put on ‘the wedding garment’, yet in the fullest sense it is not she, but her Lord, who makes her ready by ‘granting to her that she be arrayed in fine linen.’” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
Our “righteous deeds” are made possible by God’s working in us. Jesus says, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). So Jesus instructs: “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by the vine unless it abides in the vine” (John 15:4). “When we shall be united to Jesus, the ever blessed Lamb, in endless wedlock, all our fitness to be there will be ours by free grant.” (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons, Volume 35)
So in heaven all the praise for “the righteous deeds of the saints” goes to Christ the Bridegroom, who “loved the church and gave himself up for her…so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind…” (Ephesians 5:25, 27).
The English preacher Charles Spurgeon pleads with readers on Christ’s behalf:
There, poor sinner, take my garment, and put it on; you shall stand before God as if you were Christ, and I will stand before God as if I had been the sinner; I will suffer in the sinner’s stead, and you shall be rewarded for your works that you did not do, but which I did for you. (The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon)
As the Bride of the Lamb is presented to Christ she will see only Him. “The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face; I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace. Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand; the Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.” (Anne R. Cousin, hymn, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking”)
So let us now give Him the glory! Let us worship!
READ ALOUD Revelation 19:1-8
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.