Do Not Weep

Revelation 4-8

There is much to take in with today’s reading as John describes the throne room of heaven and the events that unfold, marking the Kingdom of God being set into motion.  There are angels, horsemen, and elders, each executing and exacting the will of God.  If you are a bit overwhelmed by today’s reading, you are not alone. John, who spent more time with Jesus than most, is still awestruck by the worship of God happening before him, and he is doing his best to describe heavenly things for which there is no earthly vocabulary (something important to keep in mind as we examine the remainder of this book and prophecy).  With a resounding question, John’s attention is drawn to the hand of God:

“And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.” Rev 5:2-4

John weeps, for the content of the scroll could very well never be known.  Salvation’s plan locked inside this scroll with no one on heaven or earth who is worthy of removing the seven seals that keep it shut.  This is seemingly the end of the road.  Without a Savior, life on earth has no redemption.  This is most definitely worth a weep, knowing that for some, their story stops here.  They have put everything in what they alone can achieve, yet they are like every other creature in heaven and on earth.  Without the hope delivered in the next verses, all that would remain is remorse and regret (Luke 13:27,28).

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Rev 5:5

Salvation is a gift of God, paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8,9).  In the moments when we are overcome with great grief, sense the defeating drift of sin, are lost or lonely, feel pressed or persecuted, let Jesus Christ step forward. Do not reach deeper into empty stores, pour out of a broken vessel, or pick up the shattered pieces; let him do what we cannot.  We need only lift our heads – to pray, to seek, to take heart – as we listen to the words of the elder that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, has triumphed.  He will step forward and unfurl a new banner, renewing and restoring the purpose of our life. He alone is worthy to open the scroll, yet we are indeed the beneficiaries of the prize of his propitiation.

And they sang a new song, saying:  “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Rev 5:9

-Aaron Winner

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Revelation 4-8.

Tomorrow we continue with chapters 9-13.

The Goal

Psalm 24

Psalm 24 1 NIV

I think the ultimate goal of Christianity is to have a relationship with God. I think this is ultimately the goals of our lives as well if you believe in God. I once heard Pastor Vince Finnegan, Sean’s dad, say that as long as he had his relationship with God nothing else really mattered. He said this years ago and it has still stuck with me to this day. This is crazy because despite my ability to intensely focus on things there are days that I would forget my head if it wasn’t attached to my body.

Back to my point I wanted to open up by reminding you what is the point of our lives.

No one starts out running marathons by just running a marathon or hiking really huge mountains by just going and doing it. You have to start out by training for a marathon or hiking smaller mountains. You need to build endurance to complete formidable tasks. The cost of admission for hiking that larger mountain or running that marathon is rigorous training before hand. If you only do half of the marathon training, you probably won’t be able to run the whole marathon. That’s generally just a rule of life.

The real life long question for me is how can I draw closer to God and I think Ps. 24 lays out a way in which we can do that. You should go ahead and read it all the way through right now then we will talk about it some more.

I love the way this Psalm opens and I think it is super appropriate for what David is going to ask in verse 2 as well. David opens up the Psalm by acknowledging and praising God for his creation. He says that the earth is the Lord’s and all who dwell in it. If you read yesterday’s devo you know I love the idea that all I am and all I have is God’s. “I deserve nothing and I have been given everything” is probably my favorite saying and David’s opening lines feed directly into that. The reason I think it is so appropriate that David opens the Psalm like this is because he is acknowledging the greatness of God. He is acknowledging that we really haven’t done anything and don’t really deserve anything from God.

Verse 3 is the focal point of this psalm. David says “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?”. This isn’t just talking about standing on a hill or standing in God’s holy place just to stand there. And to clarify no one is worthy. Well, except Jesus. Jesus is always the exception and the answer. Haha.

Back to what I was saying before I distracted myself. David isn’t only saying this to proclaim God’s greatness. Ascending the hill of the Lord and entering his holy place are ways in which we can draw close to God. Psst… remember the opening paragraph. So, whatever comes next may be pretty important for us.

Verse 4 says “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, and doesn’t lift up his soul to what is false?” Remember what I was saying earlier about the cost of admission? Here it is. The disappointing part is that even if we cover the cost of admission we still need God’s help to cover the rest of it but that’s in the next verse. So, what do you think clean hands and a pure heart is? I think I can probably define it but I’m gonna take the easy way out with this one and say being like Jesus. Remember the answer is ALWAYS Jesus. So, to define living like Jesus is much easier for me; it’s living a life where from my heart my actions reflect love of God and his people. I just don’t see Jesus getting angry because he had to help another person because his actions where overflowing from a pure heart. The goal here is becoming more like Jesus.

I love the way that David phrases this second part ‘don’t lift up your soul to what is false.’ It speaks of something so true. Anything that we look to for satisfaction from, other than God, is false. We can give it life and make it out to be true but it will not satisfy.

In verse 5 it says that, “He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” It says here that we will receive righteousness from the Lord as well. God is even supplying righteousness in the areas in which we are lacking in order to draw close to him.

Verse 6 gets to the heart of what we have been talking about here. God is looking for those people who will seek his face and draw close to him.

I pray that God will help me to draw closer to Him by cleansing my hands and purifying my heart and helping change my heart. That my actions would be an out pouring of my heart and I could become holy as he is holy and draw closer to him.

Bonus Material: If you wanted to read another Psalm similar to this one Psalm 15 is great as well.

 

Daniel Wall

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+1-2%2C+15%2C+22-24%2C+47%2C+68&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 89, 96, 100, 101, 105 & 132 as we continue with the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Who is Worthy?

Revelation 5

Revelation 5 2 4 NIV

I remember when I was younger trying to open the jam jar and it was almost impossible. All I wanted was my PBJ and needed to open the seal of the jar so I could be successful. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it open, so naturally I asked my brother if he could somehow open it. Then with ease and hardly a second he had it open. My brother was the key to my Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich.

In revelation 5 John is in the middle of a vision and he has in front of him a throne and next to this throne was a book with 7 seals. He is having a difficult time figuring out who could open this book with these seals but could not find any worthy person. But then it describes the one who was worthy to open the seals in verse 5:5 “The lion that is from Judah, the root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its 7 seals.”That Lion depicted in this verse is Jesus he is the one who has overcome death and has made it possible for us to do that same thing.

Having someone stronger than us in our lives so we can succeed is vital to being a Christian. We have Jesus to rely on and he makes it possible for us to worship God with pure hearts and minds. He was worthy so we can also be worthy.

I would like you all to write down on a post-it note the one thing that holds you back from your greatest potential and hang it on your mirror that you use daily. Remember this when you read it, Jesus overcame sin and death, and He gives us the power to do the same.

Jesse Allen