“And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”(Revelation 5:8-14 ESV)
Have you ever been in love? And if so, was it a love that you could talk about-either to the person you adored, or to other people who would listen to you patiently?
If so, you know what lovers do—they praise. They praise the one they love, both to his or her face, and to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen. You can’t stop them from praising their beloved. It’s a natural reaction. They have seen just how truly wonderful that person is, and they won’t rest until you see that, too. (And they won’t rest then, either. Which sometimes makes them tiresome to be around!)
Now in today’s reading, that’s exactly what’s going on. Everyone in heaven and earth is praising Jesus-why? Not because they have to. Jesus isn’t holding a gun to their heads. And they’re not doing it to flatter Him, either—as if they could climb the ranks of heaven and get more power or glory if they sucked up to Him just right. No, that sort of nonsense belongs on earth, if not in hell. That’s fake praise, not the real thing.
These lovers of Jesus are praising Him because He is praise-worthy. They are praising Him because they can’t help themselves—they are so in love with Him, and they see Him so clearly, their mouths just open and that’s it. This is what worship is supposed to be like, but so rarely is, in this world where we are still practicing. This is perfected worship—the sort that happens, not because it’s a duty or a Sunday morning habit, but because people are in love. They are happy. And they are sharing their joy in Jesus with everyone around them.
And of all the creatures in heaven and earth, we human beings have the most reason to praise Him, because He has loved us to the point of death and beyond. As the song says, “For You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Because of Jesus, we are not slaves or prisoners anymore. We are not under the power of death and the devil. We are in God’s kingdom, as God’s beloved children—because Jesus loved us. Praise Him!
We Pray: I love You, Lord. Thank You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on April 27, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. When was the last time you praised someone or something? What did you praise, and why?
2. Why do you think Sunday morning worship so often falls short of this kind of praise?
3. Can we improve that, at least a little? If you think so, how?