Heaven Erupts in Song

“Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.””
Revelation‬ ‭5:11-12‬ ‭NLT

John, bemused and captivated by the new song being sung by the four living beings and the twenty four elders, must have blinked, because he suddenly then became aware that the inhabitants of Heaven, millions of angels, were singing too. And they joined the new song for the chorus; 

Worthy is the Lamb 
who was slaughtered,
to receive power and riches 
and wisdom and strength 
and honour and glory and blessing.

I envisage the scene as being like a gospel choir, where the main singer belts out the main lyric lines, and the rest of the choir responds. But on a scale totally beyond comprehension. I can imagine that the hairs on the back of John’s neck were standing up as the emotion of the occasion washed over him.

The lyrics of the chorus retained the focus on Jesus’ sacrifice, but then ventured into praising Him, mentioning seven attributes he was worthy of. Yes, that number seven again. Because of what He had done, the chorus goes, Jesus had complete and total entitlement to everything possible. Nothing left out. Power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing. But the amazing thing is, He had had access to all of that before He came to this earth to die for us. And because of His love for us pilgrims, He was prepared to abandon it all, adopting instead the limitations of a human being. That must be a thought that drives us to our knees in thankful adoration.

One day, we pilgrims will have the opportunity to join in the heavenly song, but before then we have our feet established firmly on Planet Earth. In the lives we lead, what songs are we singing? Are they songs of sadness, focussed on the miseries of our earthbound lives? Or are they songs of thanks extolling the virtues of our wonderful Heavenly Father? We may not be aware of the “songs” we are singing. But those around us, in our families and workplaces, schools and supermarkets, will know what we are “singing”, by how we behave and what we say. Let’s learn a new song, worthy of Him who brought us abundant life. And belt it out whenever we have the opportunity.

Father God. We choose today to only sing God-songs, songs that those around us will notice and hopefully copy. In this lost world, our songs of hope will bring solace to to our friends, families and communities. We love You, Lord! Amen.

Terrors of the Night

You will not fear the terror of night, 
nor the arrow that flies by day, 
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, 
nor the plague that destroys at midday. 
A thousand may fall at your side, 
ten thousand at your right hand, 
but it will not come near you. 
You will only observe with your eyes 
and see the punishment of the wicked.
‭Psalms‬ ‭91:5-8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

These words from Psalm 91 have sustained me on several occasions. There was one occasion when the redundancy sword was hanging heavily over the organisation where I worked. The usual double whammy of too many employees and insufficient work to sustain their employment. And my own department and position was particularly vulnerable. But God in His mercy popped verse 7 into my mind, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” Thankfully, I survived the redundancy exercise, but several colleagues didn’t. God in His mercy reassured me, and His Word sustained me in the run up to the announcement. 

But there are other nuggets in these few verses. Night terrors, for one. Isn’t it strange that when we lie in bed the problems of the previous day, or the day to come, assume proportions far in excess of reality? And instead of praying and touching base with our loving Heavenly Father, we lie in a terror-sweat, building imaginary scenarios in our minds. Or am I the only one who has experienced those sorts of “terrors in the night”?

The verses go on to explore the life experiences that can be so debilitating. Physical violence from weaponry. Illnesses and plagues. Infestations from other forms of life, microscopic or otherwise. These things can induce fears in each one of us. The Covid “plague” is particularly relevant today and I have dear friends who live in fear, adopting a hermit-like existence, just in case they become afflicted by the virus. “What-if” fears can be a blight on our lives in themselves.

Verse 4 of this Psalm is where we need to camp. Under the wings of our loving Heavenly Father. Because it is there that we will find the protection we all need. There are no terrors in His presence, just love and reassurance, kindness and grace.