GNB 2.108

May 10, 2023


Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! 

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

(Revelation 5.11-14)


If there is a theme to be used to guide the promise of Revelation it might be “praise before the promise.” Regardless of the outcome of our lives as mighty ones of God, our first word ought to be “praise.” It is indeed easier to praise when we know what is promised…as long as that promise is a positive outcome and of comfortable benefit to us. If Revelation teaches us anything, it is that the final outcome is positive for those who are willing to praise God from whom all blessings flow regardless of the journey from here to there. Jesus alerted His disciples that walking a straight path would lead to the promise which God was fulfilling in Him. For Jesus, that journey was difficult. He was ridiculed, cursed, tested, tormented, rejected, questioned, heckled, doubted and all of that before He even took on the cross and journeyed from Pilate’s court to Golgotha where He was crucified. But, Jesus never veered off course. He never swerved in the face of danger. He never abandoned the calling. He never turned away or turned back. Do not mistake “straight” for “unbending.” He was not heartless just as the strong Word of God is not without compassion. But, He was full of conviction for the truth and stood against the misrepresentation of the truth. In all times, He praised God and always before He received what was promised. His life was an act and service of worship. As we have considered already, the “what comes next” is the description of prophetic worship as it is in Heaven and as it is intended to be on earth. It will not always be fragrant and lovely and beautiful and gentle and easy-going. Sometimes the way of being “straight with God” leads through dark and difficult times. In those times, there will be people and forces who will rise up against us with the intention of impeding our progress. What is the key to our success in those times? It is nothing if it is not “praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

So, as we progress through the Book of Revelation we will find our way challenging, difficult and less than easy to comprehend much less accept. We are bolstered by the end result, as long as we remain committed to the path of praising God and the Lamb of God. But, we dare not long for some kind of “teleportation” from the start to the finish and seek to avoid what lies between. Even the psalmist David who had been anointed King of Israel even while Saul remained on the throne understood that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. He confessed to as much when he sang “Yes, when I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil to befall me. Why? Because You, Great Shepherd, are with me. Your “rod” and your staff are with me.” David did not say as he bypassed the valley, flew over the valley, tunneled under the valley or went around the valley. David confessed he was walking through it. He doesn’t even say the Great Shepherd went and found him in it. He didn’t say he went on his own volition. He said he walked through it with the protective leadership of the Great Shepherd. What does that mean if it does not mean that the Great Shepherd took him in, through and beyond the challenging leg of the journey to dwell in the House of the Lord forever. His words of declaration that the Shepherd was equipped with His “rod” and His staff were elements of praise. The rod was a measure of safe and secure distance. Nothing could get within a “rod’s” length of them. In Revelation 11.1, we are reminded of the “measuring rod.” It calls us to hold on to the word which is intended to define us as “working together using all our gifts, talents and abilities to become one in achieving the full measure and stature of Christ.” We, too often, think of the rod as a whipping stick. Both are intended to “disciple” us into right thinking and actions. But, we know that the “rod” has often be used to beat down a person until they submit and capitulate. This is not the way of the Lord. God is straight and forward with us as is evidenced with His Son who took on “the rod and the staff” of His cross for our sake. It is common to say “no pain, no gain.” I have always told the story of when parents and caregivers brought children (and those like children in their mind) to Jesus so He would bless them. The disciples were hesitant, even fearful, for themselves but under the guise of being protective of Jesus. What did Jesus need protecting from? Even death could not truly harm Him, as they would have to learn. Jesus responded to the disciples, “Suffer, let them come to me.” What He was urging the disciples was to practice the urgency of sacrifice and submission. They were to make every effort to bring children to Him and not keep them away. His words were the affirmation of “praise before the promise.” What would be promised? It would be the gift of the Holy Spirit which Jesus praised God for as His gift to them for “keeping the faith” and praising Him even when it was nearly impossible to do.

It is time, mighty ones of God, to begin singing our “new” song. It is a song of victory and praise in the midst of the storm and dark times which are ahead. They were prophesied and we are equipped. The keys to the Kingdom of success and righteousness have been given to us because we have put our faith in God. We will be able to bear through it straightway where others will not. They will try to rework the system, create a new system, paint a false picture, foment the lie of their failure as being a success and even eliminate the presence of others so that it will only be their word left standing and not their word against others. Except, their word will never praise God authentically and call Him “worthy of praise.” Their word is for themselves and themselves alone. It too, however, will be a “praise before the promise.” But, what is promised to them is of their own choosing. They will never find their way out of or through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. There are many who can still be saved from that “fate worse than death.” It is up to us to take “the rod and staff” of God’s mercy, love and abiding Spirit and present it to them. We can do so as the chorus of all creation bound to worship goes with us “in praise” before “the promise” is fully revealed.


You are our God and we shall be Your people in spirit and in truth. Continue to dwell among us. Let the revelation by Your Holy Spirit inspire us to greater service in a more refined identity. We do not live as ourselves for ourselves. Rather, we live in Christ as He lives in us. We declare it with all the elders and angels in Heaven, saying “Holy, holy, holy is He who was and is and is to come.” In Jesus’ name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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