Worthy of All Our Honor
Worthy are you, our Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.(Revelation 4:11)
As the sailor locates his position on the sea by “shooting” the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God. We must begin with God. We are right when and only when we stand in the right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.
Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer our own image. The flesh whimpers against the rigor of God’s inexorable sentence and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use.
We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be too painful to endure.
So let’s begin with God.
As the self-existent One, He gave being to all things, and all things exist out of and for Him. Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure.
God being who and what He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that it is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.
Have you ever wondered what the angels and the saints are doing in heaven? I’m sure we sometimes let our imaginations try to encompass what heaven is like and what activities will be there. I have no doubt that heaven will be all we can imagine and then some. I’m sure that we will enjoy beauty beyond compare. I think that our reunion with friends and loved one will be beyond description. We read that the eternity that God has prepared prepared for us is more than we can perceive.
“but just as it is written [in Scripture], “ Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man , All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”
1 Corinthians 2:9
All the things that we will experience in eternity will be beyond compare and comprehension now in these mortal bodies.
Let’s read what the Bible has to say about the activity of heaven. This activity has been occurring since the beginning of time. We read that Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven and led the hosts of heaven in giving glory and praise to God. All that creation can give to its Creator is its heart praise. We have no other gift to bring before the throne. We have nothing to offer God other than praise and worship. Often we may feel that we can give our money back to God but if God has given it to us in the first place, we are truly giving Him nothing, we are merely returning what already belongs to Him. Suppose we use our talents for Him or His church; we are still only returning back to Him and using what He has given us for His purpose. “All things,” the Bible says, “have been created for Him and by Him and nothing was made without Him.” If we sing, we do so with the voice He gave us. If we work we do so with the hands He gave us. If we think we do so with the mind He gave us.
But God in His grace has given His creation an ability that is their own. That which God has given His creation nothing other than the ability to worship and praise and humans are also given the choice as to whether or not they do so.
Jesus tells us that we have been given the choice or not to praise Him.
As soon as He was approaching [Jerusalem], near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the entire multitude of the disciples [all those who were or claimed to be His followers] began praising God [adoring Him enthusiastically and] joyfully with loud voices for all the miracles and works of power that they had seen, shouting, “ Blessed (celebrated, praised) is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory (majesty, splendor) in the highest [heaven]!” Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples [for shouting these Messianic praises].” Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry out [in praise]!”
Christ is saying that we might refrain from praise but nature cannot as it beholds its creator.
Revelation gives us a powerful view of heaven. The scenes are not just those occurring during the Great Tribulation but are events that have been happening since the dawn of creation.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you know and have understanding. “Who determined the measurements [of the earth], if you know? Or who stretched the [measuring] line on it? “On what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God (angels) shouted for joy?
Here we read in Job that when God created the earth and humanity, the angels rejoiced with Him for they saw the pleasure His creation gave Him.
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes all over and within [underneath their wings]; and day and night they never stop saying, “ Holy, holy, holy [is the] Lord God, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], who was and who is and who is to come [the unchanging, eternal God].” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”
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].
After these things I looked, and this is what I saw: a vast multitude which no one could count, [gathered] from every nation and from all the tribes and peoples and languages [of the earth], standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Christ), dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands; and in a loud voice they cried out, saying, “Salvation [belongs] to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb [our salvation is the Trinity’s to give, and to God the Trinity we owe our deliverance].” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the [twenty-four] elders and the four living creatures; and they fell to their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and majesty and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Then the seventh angel sounded [his trumpet]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom (dominion, rule) of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell face downward and worshiped God, saying, “To You we give thanks, O Lord God Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], Who are and Who were, because You have taken Your great power and the sovereignty [which is rightly Yours] and have [now] begun to reign.
Then I saw something like a sea or large expanse of glass mixed with fire, and those who were victorious over the beast and over his image and over the number corresponding to his name were standing on the sea or large expanse of glass, holding harps of God [worshiping Him]. And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wonderful and awe-inspiring are Your works [in judgment], O Lord God, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all]; Righteous and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! “Who will not fear [reverently] and glorify Your name, O Lord [giving You honor and praise in worship]? For You alone are holy; For all the nations shall come and worship before You, For Your righteous acts [Your just decrees and judgments] have been revealed and displayed .”
After these things I heard something like the great and mighty shout of a vast multitude in heaven, exclaiming, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory (splendor, majesty) and power (dominion, might) belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous. He has judged [convicted and pronounced sentence on] the great prostitute (idolatress) who was corrupting and ruining and poisoning the earth with her adultery (idolatry), and He has imposed the penalty for the blood of His bond-servants on her .” And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke shall ascend forever and ever.” Then the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures also fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah (praise the Lord)!” Then from the throne there came a voice, saying, “Praise our God, all you bond-servants of His, you who fear Him, the small (common) and the great (distinguished).” Then I heard something like the shout of a vast multitude, and like the boom of many pounding waves, and like the roar of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all] reigns. Let us rejoice and shout for joy! Let us give Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb has come [at last] and His bride (the redeemed) has prepared herself.” She has been permitted to dress in fine linen, dazzling white and clean—for the fine linen signifies the righteous acts of the saints [the ethical conduct, personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character of believers].
As I was writing this devotion and read again the description of what the angels and hosts of heaven were saying and doing, I thought about our gatherings as the church. It is for no other reason that we call our gatherings “worship.” Perhaps the church elders who chose that title did so to define the purpose of our gathering. Notice they chose worship instead of preaching or teaching or fellowship. Though each of these may be part and portion of our gatherings they are not the primary focus. God has so much more for us than gathering for the sake of gathering. I know this as a preacher; God can do more in a human heart in five seconds of that heart engaged in worship than all the sermons I could preach in a decade. I know that when we enter into worship, God can heal and help us in moments what fellowship could not do in a lifetime.
You and I have been made to be worshippers. So go ahead, open your heart, your soul to your Creator and offer to Him the only thing you can- your heartfelt, surrendered worship. As you do so, you will be joining in with the angels, the hosts of heaven, those saints who have gone before and both heaven and earth will resound with the words:
“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”
Dr. John Thompson