“Whenever the living beings give glory and honour and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.””
Revelation 4:9-11 NLT
We have reached the final three verses, that bring Revelation chapter four to a close. Once again the Apostle John writes down what he saw. But we mustn’t forget that there is probably a disconnect between what was actually happening in Heaven and what he saw. His glimpse through Heaven’s open door was being filtered by his human lens of understanding. John was given an incredible revelation, and we earlier read in Revelation 1:19 that he was told to write it down. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he translated the vision that he was given into a form and language that his, and subsequent, generations would understand.
So we read again that when the living beings gave “glory and honour and thanks” to God, it prompted an act of worship from the twenty four elders. But what sort of picture does this give us? The verses start with the word “Whenever”, implying that every now and then the living beings initiated something. But John didn’t say how often this happened. So before we conjure up in our minds a cartoon-like repetition of strange looking beings and twenty four elders bobbing about we must pause to think this through.
We pilgrims must all pray that the Holy Spirit helps us to understand what was going on. Firstly, I would say that the worship, so willingly acted out by the living beings and the twenty four elders, was spontaneous because God never created automatons. Secondly we must remember that there is no time, as we understand it, in Heaven. Thirdly, in some way incomprehensible to us humans, the worship in Heaven was continuous and at an intensity that consumed the worshippers. They desired nothing else, because they had finally arrived at a place of complete understanding of who God is, with a continual and spontaneous worship response resulting.
Of course, God never needs the worship of His creation. But in a way, incomprehensible to any but his committed followers, the worship of God is unstoppable and eternal. I’m writing this in the late Spring here in Scotland and the vegetation in the local woods has exploded into a created mass of greenery, stretching up as though to get close to their Creator. The birds are singing their hearts out. There is an excitement present that can only be interpreted as worship of the Creator.
To us pilgrims, worship of God is, or should be, an integral part of who we are. When we pause at Calvary and think through the implications of what Jesus did for us, how can we not respond in worship? By a long way we fail to understand why God loved the world so much, but He did, and that incudes each one of us. The credibility gap between the omnipresent Creator and the insignificance of His creation has to invoke worship. Nothing else is possible or even comes close to what God deserves.
Dear Lord God. How can we thank You enough for all You have done for us. We are a truly privileged people, and we fall to our knees this morning in worship. Amen.