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Our Worship of Our Holy, Holy, Holy God is to be Alive and Active

Revelation 4:8 (ESV) … “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

The cherubim are the highest of all created intelligences. They are full of eyes, implying clear insight into matters. These lofty ones employ the resources of their intellects, the deep emotions of their hearts, the ceaseless drive and dynamic of their powerful wills—and they worship!

It is the one great, supreme, dominating activity of their lives. All else is counted worthless when compared to the supreme activity of worship. With all their heart and mind and soul and strength they worship Him that sits upon the throne. They acknowledge Him to be the holiest One in the universe. Holy! Holy! Holy! Thrice holy God! Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Ghost![1]

It is difficult for us, who still have the sad tendency to think of worship as largely about what we do on Sunday, to grasp what we see as happening here in heaven.

  1. This worship is ceaseless. Here before the throne of God we have the reminder that the whole of life is to be about bringing glory and honor and praise to God. We read they never stop saying … It is part of the sadness of our fallenness and sin that we find ourselves so often falling short of living for God’s glory. Yet when we finally enjoy life in all its fullness before the sovereign Lord, we too shall find that this is indeed at last our natural inclination, for it is what we have been created for.

  2. The worship is spoken. Worship of God is verbal. We read that they never stop saying, and that the elders say … God has created us to communicate with each other and with him. It is useful to remind ourselves that when these crowds speak the praises of God they do so to him but they also hear each other. So they remind each other that they are all part of this magnificent creation designed to communicate with the Lord God Almighty.

  3. The worship is active. The elders lay their crowns before the throne. This action is, of course, symbolic. Here they are acknowledging the one true God and the one who sits on the throne. Nevertheless, such an action reminds us that these elders, who themselves have thrones and are involved in the work of the Lord, do that work to his glory. Even the rule they have (represented by their crowns) is a rule which must be subordinated to his rule. As we fulfil the work that God has called us to do in his service, we learn from this heavenly assembly to make sure that we do all, as it were, with our crowns laid before him. We are to live and work to his praise and glory.[2]

[1] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary (Re 4:7–8). Kregel; WORDsearch Corp.

[2] Gardner, P. (2002). Revelation: The Compassion and Protection of Christ (pp. 74–75). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.

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