“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
Glory, honour and thanks. Three important factors bound up and interwoven into our worship of our wonderful Heavenly Father. So what do these three words mean and how do they connect with God?
If we take the word “glory”, we immediately relate it to something worldly. We say a warm and sunny day is glorious. The British national anthem, referring to the Queen, has the lines, “Send her victorious, happy and glorious”. A dictionary definition defines glory as being of great beauty or worthy of honour. But God’s glory, though incorporating these thoughts, is a lot more than anything we can define in human terms. The glory of God is who He is, the Creator of the Universe, emanating His beauty, His worth, His Name. And much of our human lives can convey a hint of what the glory of God is all about, in the things that we behold as being of beauty, precious and lovely. These hints of glory can also encompass less tangible thoughts and feelings. Our emotions will perhaps be moved by a piece of music, or a scene in nature. God’s glory is unlimited and, like Him, omnipresent. Ancient Jewish traditions talk about the shekinah glory of God, meaning that His presence is so intense that it is living with us. The pillars of fire and smoke in the Israelites exodus from Egypt are perhaps examples of this. Or the smoke filling the temple in Isaiah 6.
God is worthy of honour. How else can we think of, or consider, our wonderful Heavenly Father? Jesus, in the prayer we call the Lord’s prayer, taught His disciples to hallow or honour His name. We speak of Him reverentially. In fact, the Jews so revered God they wouldn’t even mention His name. We honour God in all that we are, and do. And those around us will perhaps gain a glimpse of God through us, as we speak or behave in ways that honour Him.
And we thank God for all He has done. For the creation of our world and all that is in it. For ourselves and His presence with us. For being a Father to us, listening to, and answering, our prayers. For His Son, Jesus, who died for us, so that we would be able to enter His presence. The list is endless. Perhaps we can see why it has taken eternity for the living beings to worship God. And they haven’t finished yet!
Such was the Apostle John’s reverence of God that he wouldn’t even mention His name, instead referring to Him as “the One sitting on the throne” and “the One who lives forever and ever”. This description of God was echoed by the twenty four elders, as they too joined in the song of worship and praise.
Dear Heavenly Father. We pilgrims enter into the Heavenly worship, desperate to be included, as we earnestly model a piece of Heaven here on earth. On our knees we too express our glory and honour and thanks. Amen.