Obadiah 1:1-21; Revelation 4:1-11; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 29:24-25
A friend once told me that she got so tired of the "7-11" songs that they sang at her church. "It's the same eleven words and we sing them seven times over." Her not-so-implicit criticism revealed that she thought the more modern worship songs were a bit light on significance. I smiled at her view, but I've never forgotten it. I, too, like the old hymns with their great theological truths, harmonies, and weight.
When I come to this passage in the New Testament, though, I'm forced to reconsider. The four living creatures sing, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come" (Rev. 4:8). Um, that's sixteen words, and some of those are repeated words. That leaves only eleven distinct words! And when it comes to singing those words seven times, the creatures have that beat: "day and night they never stop saying" (vs. 8) this profound truth. So much for a 7-11 song having little or no substance! It goes to show that the great old hymns (like the Israelites' liturgy, the Psalms) are valid expressions of praise, just as the contemporary songs (like the creatures' worship) are.
And then, of course, there are the words sung by the twenty-four elders. How I wish I could write music to go with such profound, powerful words! This expression of praise echoes the gospel that John wrote before he received the vision that we now read as the book of Revelation. "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (Jn. 1:3) says his gospel; "you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (Rev. 4:11) sings his vision. I love the cohesiveness of Scripture, and these writings by John are inextricably tied together. How beautiful. How amazing.
There is no better way for me to end this post today than by praising God.
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (Rev. 4:11). Amen and amen.
- Sarah Marsh
How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.