Thursday, April 15, 2010

No-holds-barred worship

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 4:1-11

TO CHEW ON: “The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne saying”

‘You are worthy, O Lord
To receive glory and honor and power
for You created all things
And by your will they exist and were created.’” Revelation 4:10-11

The scene John describes in today’s reading is beyond comprehension and difficult even to imagine. It is not unlike other glimpses we get of God and the activity in heaven. There are striking similarities. Note the “sea of glass” in Revelation 4:6 and the sapphire-like pavement under God's feet when He showed Himself to Moses and the 70 elders on Mount Sinai. Note the exotic creatures here and described similarly in Ezekiel’s vision. Note the abundance of eyes in both places.

What does it all mean? An end-note in my Bible suggests that the sea of glass denotes the unapproachableness of God. The four creatures speak of majesty (lion), courage and strength (ox), intelligence (man) and speed (eagle) “in the service of the Creator.” The abundance of eyes symbolizes God’s unceasing watchfulness.(New Spirit Filled Life Bible p.1824)

These visions evoked fear, awe and above all, worship in those who saw them.

Worship (proskuneo; pros= toward, kuneo = kiss; kiss toward - "to kiss like a dog licking his master's hand") means to prostrate oneself, bow down, do obeisance, show reverence, homage, worship, adore. We worship only God and the risen and ascended Jesus – not angels, saints, shrines, relics or religious people.

Although we’re not currently in heaven, privy to these description-taxing scenes, where worshipers fall down before God and present their crowns to Him, we can also worship on earth in the here-and-now.

1. We can assume physical postures of worship as twenty-four Elders do here – kneeling, bowing, lying on the ground before God during our times of private prayer and even in church. Perhaps it would do us good to remind ourselves of our lowness in relation to God in this way more often than we do.

2. We can give our everyday lives to God  – your “ordinary life – your sleeping eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Message). This is called your “reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” (Amplified)

3. We can adhere to His standards and live obediently as people of His covenant (inviting people of all nations to Christ, observing the pattern of life He has set out - like keeping one day of rest - and preserving our assembly place as a "house of prayer for all nations.")

4. We can be part of His plan by aligning ourselves with other Christians as “living stones” (NIV) - members of His spiritual house.

Will we do these things with the same willingness and abandon that the saints in heaven worship in the awe-inspiring presence of God?

PRAYER: Dear God, please give me a sense of Your otherness. I so easily take You down to my level. Help me to worship You with all I am and have. Amen.

MORE: I love John's comparison of God and heaven with precious gems, stones, and metals. Trouble is, I have no experience with many of these jewels. Here is a little about the ones mentioned in this passage.


Jasper

Sardius (similar to Carnelian, only harder and darker)


Emerald


Gold

Crystal


Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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