For a New Song
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)
Yes we need to be strengthened with all God might- according to the measure of His glorious power- if we are to wait on God in all patience. It is God revealing Himself in us as our life and strength that will enable us with perfect patience to leave all in His hands. If any are inclined to despond because they have not such patience, let them be of good courage; it is in the purse of our feeble and imperfect waiting that God Himself by His hidden power strengthens us and works out in us the patience of the saints, the patience of Christ Himself.
Listen to the voice of one who was deeply tried: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry”(Psalm 40:1). Hear what he passed through: “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God”( Psalm 40:2,3. Patient waiting upon God brings a rich reward; the deliverance is sure; God Himself will put a new song into your mouth.
O soul, be not impatient- whether it be in the exercise of prayer and worship that you find it difficult to wait, or in respect to certain requests, or in the fulfilling of your hearts desire for the revelation of God Himself in a deeper spiritual life- fear not, but rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
And if you sometimes feel as if patience is not your gift, remember it is God’s gift, and take it: “The Lord direct your hearts into…..the patient waiting for Christ”(2 Thessalonians 3:5). Into patient waiting for Christ with which you are to wait on God, He Himself will guide you.
“And there between the throne ( with the four living creatures ) and among the elders I saw a Lamb (Christ) standing, [bearing scars and wounds] as though it had been slain, with seven horns (complete power) and with seven eyes (complete knowledge), which are the seven Spirits of God who have been sent [on duty] into all the earth. And He came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Christ), each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints (God’s people). And they sang a new song [of glorious redemption], saying, “Worthy and deserving are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom [of royal subjects] and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable), saying in a loud voice, “Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together], “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].”
The preceding verses tell us that there was a search in heaven to find one worth to open the books. One was found, the Lamb of God. This Lamb(Christ) stands with complete or all power, and complete or all knowledge. Twenty four elders representing both Old and New Testament saints stand before Him. In their hands they hold harps and bowls filled with fragrant incense.
Often we question the value of our prayers. We wonder what happens to them once we speak them. Does God hear them? Is He really aware of our situation and need? Will He respond to our cry? What is revealed to us in this portrayal by John in Revelation shows us the answers to our question. First we see the Lamb bearing the wounds and scars. None other than the Christ who bore our sins and was crucified on the cross. We see that He has all power and all knowledge so that there is nothing that He does not know and nothing that He cannot do on our behalf. We see the twenty four elders bowing before Him, the representation of all the people of God including you and me. In their hands are bowls of fragrant incense which we are told are the prayers that we have offered up. Hear this again, these are the prayers that we have prayed and they are being offered as a fragrant incense. God sees our prayers as something to be a fragrant smell to Him. Our prayers are something that brings God pleasure. Oh I know that often our prayers are a cry for help or relief or even a complaint, but whenever one of God’s children call on Him, lift up their voice in prayer, it is a sweet aroma that fills the throne room of Heaven. I hope this motivates us to pray. In spite of our misconceptions about prayer, whether they be about how or what words or whether we are “spiritual” enough; God delights in hearing His children when they come to talk with Him.
As these bow in the presence of the Lamb, the Bible says they sing a new song. O that God would put a song in our hearts. O that in the midst of all the unhappy, disgruntled, and miserable inhabitants of their planet, that a new song of praise would rise from the children of God. Listen to the words of this song sang here before the Lamb:
“Worthy and deserving are you….for you were slain and with your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests and they will reign on earth.”
In response to this song, the angels say- not sing, say: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
For eons of time, the angels have been around the throne. They have beheld the face of God constantly. They have carried out His wishes. They have served as His agents, messengers and defenders of the creation of God, we who are human. And yet, they can only listen as we sing the song of redemption. Look at the words of the song in comparison to what the angels say. Note if you will, the saints sing but the angels say. In the announcement of the birth of Christ, we read that the angels said, not sang but said, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” The saints sang Worthy…..for you have purchased people for God….have made them kings and priest.” The angels say Worthy…to receive power….and honor and glory.
Beloved, know that in our waiting, God is deeply interested in our prayers. He is the faithful, loving, and all-powerful Father. Let us bring our burdens to Him and let us sing our new song of praise while we wait before Him. Let us not be discouraged and in despair though our path may be hard. Let us rejoice in that we are the purchased children of God, valuable in His sight and that our weak, feeble and sometimes doubting prayers bring pleasure to Him as a fragrant incense. Let us know that God never tires hearing us cry out to Him and though He delays, He is still very much aware of us.
Revelation 14 gives another song that the saints sing.
“Then I looked, and this is what I saw: the Lamb stood [firmly established] on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had His name and His Father’s name inscribed on their foreheads [signifying God’s own possession]. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of great waters and like the rumbling of mighty thunder; and the voice that I heard [seemed like music and] was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne [of God] and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased (ransomed, redeemed) from the earth.”
Here we see the Lamb standing on Mount Zion surrounded by the 144,000 who are singing a new song of deliverance to the Lord. These sing a song that none can learn except them. The angels, the four living creatures and the elders listen as they sing their song. Though we are not in this number, we too have a song in our hearts that no one else can sing. We too have experienced God and His grace and deliverance in a way no one else has and we have our own unique song. I love the songs we sing that others have written. Powerful expression is felt in these songs but they can’t capture fully our personal worship and praise unto God. Let our hearts sing a new song to the Lord. Go ahead, make up the words, pour out your worship, fill the bowl of incense and let heaven smell the fragrance of a redeemed child’s song.
Again the angels respond to the song.
“Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God [with awe and reverence], and give Him glory [and honor and praise in worship], because the hour of His judgment has come; [with all your heart] worship Him who created the heaven and the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
As the 144,000 sing their new song, the angel flies over the earth “with an eternal gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the earth.” His message is “ Fear God….give Him glory…worship Him….”
As we wait let us fill our hearts, our world and heaven with a song of worship and praise that gives honor and glory to our Redeemer. Let us begin now and may we finish the last verse and chorus when we bow before Him on that day. Until then, SING!!!
Dr. John Thompson