Last Tuesday, in the Lion of Judah, Part 1, we saw that Jesus is the
"Lion of Judah", the One who has disarmed the devil and defeated him
forever. As Jesus triumphs over the lies and deceptions, we see Him
prevailing over His prey and returning in triumph, thus fulfilling the
prophecy given through Jacob in
Gen. 49:7. Isn't the One who has done so much worthy of our highest
honor and praise? Isn't it fitting, in this season where we celebrate
the triumph of the "Lion of Judah", to take the
time to meditate upon Jesus and to give Him the praise and honor and
glory that He deserves?
But what words, what possible sentences, can we utter that will express appropriate gratitude for the enormity of the gift Jesus died to give us?
When we hear the admonition to praise God (mentioned over 250 times in Scripture), many of us immediately think of going to our prayer closets and saying, "I thank you, Lord". Or perhaps it makes us think of gathering with a group of believers and lifting our hands and our voices in praise. Maybe we even think of the times when praise and worship have moved us to tears. Is this what the Bible means when it admonishes us to give God praise?
Definitely, for we see the heavenly crowd doing just this: "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!' And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them I heard saying: 'Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!'"Then the four living creatures said, 'Amen!' And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever." (Rev 5:11-14 NIV)
This type of praise, where we meditate on all that the "Lion of Judah" has done, is a beautiful, life-changing exercise, one that I highly recommend, and this is the first wonderful way to praise God. But is this all that giving Jesus praise and honor entails?
Not according to Revelation 5. In vs. 8-10, we see the 24 elders and the four living creatures bowing down before the Lamb and singing a new song: "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. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
Here, in this Heavenly example, we don't see that the Heavenly beings are simply saying "praise God", but rather, they are boldly crying forth examples of the abundant deeds He has done!
When I was a child, my parents did many things for the sole purpose of bringing me joy. I thanked them at the time, and then, years later, when I reflected on how much they must have sacrificed for us kids, I have often gone back and thanked them again. When my own children were young, they would often come to me and say, "thank you", and these simple words would fill me with happiness. Occasionally, however, they did something that thrilled me even more: they told their friends about something I had done for them. I might overhear them, for example, saying with excitement, "Hey! My mom took me horseback riding this weekend!" This is exactly what the elders and creatures surrounding the Lamb are doing. They are telling everyone what the Lamb has done!
Just like it thrilled me when my kids talked to their friends about me, it must thrill God for us to talk to others about Him. Thus, a second important way to give Jesus the worship and the praise He deserves is to tell other people what He has done for us. Wasn't this, after all, Jesus' final command while on this earth? "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matt. 28:19-20a NIV).
As we go through the upcoming two weeks, let's remember this scene in Heaven. Let's throw forth our voices with the heavenly beings. Let's cry out with all our hearts, souls and spirits, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (vs 12); and, "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!" (vs. 13). But let's not limit these cries of praise to the ears of Jesus alone. Instead, let's follow the example of the elders and creatures surrounding the throne in vs. 8: Let's give Jesus praise and worship by telling others what He has done for mankind. Let's tell them how He has prevailed, and how, as a result of this gift to us, we can be reconciled with God. In so doing, we will be ensuring that our praise and honor and glory is worthy of the "Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David" the One who has "triumphed..." (Rev. 5:5 NIV).
But wait. The "Lion of Judah" gave His life for us, triumphing over sin and reconciling us to the Father; yes. But is this all that is meant when the bible calls Jesus, "The Lion of Judah", the One who has "triumphed..."? Not according to Revelation 5! Join us on Saturday for the concluding part of "The Lion of Judah".
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire "Lion of Judah" mini-series, please click here.)