(For the message from Sunday, August 29, 2021: “Worship for the Glory of His Judgment.” You can view this sermon by clicking HERE.)
We continued to see the prominent place of singing throughout the book of Revelation as we walked through chapter 15 yesterday at Westwood. In this chapter it is a portion of the song of Moses that we hear proclaimed from the lips of those “who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass” (v. 2). They sang,
Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O LORD,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts
have been revealed.Revelation 15:3b-4
I was struck by this image of worship in the midst of chaos. Pastor Gerald, in making application for all of those who are in Christ, remarked that “we can stand safely and peacefully on the waters no matter how chaotic the waters may be.” Understanding that the imagery of the sea was almost always a picture of chaos, uncertainty, and danger for the ancient Israelites, these verses speak of an almost unfathomable peace experienced by God’s people. I say unfathomable because according to the imagery peace should never be associated with the sea. And yet, here are God’s people in Revelation 15 who are said to be standing on (or beside) the “sea of glass.” How can that be?
I’ve thought about what the sea must have been like over the past 24 hours for those who live on the coast of Louisiana as hurricane Ida barreled onto shore. I have been mindful of what folks there are waking up to today. I have been mindful of what they will come home to tomorrow and in the days to come.
And yet, over these past 24 hours I have witnessed brothers and sisters in Christ who live there sing of their hope and security in Christ on social media! These are families who will potentially lose costly or priceless earthly possessions from the fury of this storm and will face massive cleanup to restore the destruction it brings. And yet, they sing the song of the redeemed. No matter what this life brings, they sing the song of the overcomer. No matter what this life brings, they are held firm, secure in Christ for eternity.
I can’t help but continue to think of precious brothers and sisters in Afghanistan who have been thrust into the center of the greatest tempest they’ve ever had to experience. My heart has been heavy these days as I have tried to imagine (and tried not to imagine) the turbulent and violent waters of the chaos and threat they are facing. And yet, I have seen and heard from some of them the beautiful song of the redeemed. I have heard the proclamations of their hope anchored deep in Christ that no storm could uproot. I have heard them loudly sing the song of the overcomers!
I think it is incredible that in this picture John sees that it is an age-old song that he hears pouring from the hearts of God’s people. The song they bellow proclaims the majesty and wonder of the same God moving in his power to save in both occasions separated by at least several thousands of years. And it is the same song that has been sung over the past few weeks in Afghanistan and over the last few days in Louisiana.
God’s people were created to sing. They were created to lift their voices to proclaim the goodness and greatness of their God. They were created to magnify him in worship through this beautiful act of affection. As Gerald exhorted us in the close of his sermon, let us join into the chorus! Let us join in with our brothers and sisters in Louisiana. Let us join in with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. Let us join in to this worldwide chorus of the redeemed, so that all may know that he is the Lord Almighty!
Praying through this Passage
- We need to pray and ask God to help us to truly see and not lose sight of his holiness, and to live our lives in light of that.
- We need to ask God to stir our hearts to urgency in proclaiming the good news and way of salvation to those he has sovereignly placed in our lives.
- We need to pray and ask that the peace of Christ would rule in our hearts as we abide with him through the Spirit.
- We need to pray that we would daily press into Christ in recognition of our total dependency on him.
- We need to pray and ask that those around us would see the hope that we have in the midst of the choppy waters of this life, and that we would be intentional about proclaiming the source of that hope.