April 11 – Devotion Sharing (Revelation 7)

Submitted by Peter C. Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Revelation 7:9

  • Reflect on the words “a great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language.”  In Revelation 5:9, it says that Jesus “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”  Spend some time marveling over the fact that you have been included in this “great multitude” and write a prayer of gratitude and praise for God and to the Lamb. 

“A great multitude…from every nation tribe, people and language”–the picture here is of such a great multitude so disparate, yet so united in one voice crying out, “Salvation belongs to our God,” is an awesome picture to imagine. All of them made white by the blood of Christ. All of them purchased for God with the currency of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. All of them holding palm branches singing words that have been clarified by hindsight. Singing of what Christ has finished on the cross, in awe of God who has saved each one of them and has enabled them to endure to the end.

Probably the closest I have come to experiencing a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language first hand is a visit I made to New York some years ago. The world seems to hold it up as a beacon of hope and achievement–the world’s version of salvation. But what I saw there was a great number of people wandering aimlessly and without purpose. Instead of “Salvation belongs to our God,” the chorus was more like the city’s theme song, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” with each person going about trying to justify their existence and fighting to “make it there.”

I am amazed that it is not “them” but “we.”  As a follower of Christ, I am included in this throng, and it means I am “worth it.”  The term often loses its meaning because I do not consider what it means–worth my effort, sacrifice, time, money, love, attention, etc. In Christ I really am “worth it” because Jesus paid the highest price, his own life, that silences the chatter about what I am really worth. There is, then, a real sense of dignity that comes to me as a result. No matter what the world may say in a disparaging way, no matter if attempts are made to classify me / marginalize me, in the end, this is the picture that I look forward to and the only thing that matters. I do not have to cry, “I want to make it there,” and do whatever it takes for that to happen, even at the expense of others. I am called to love others. I do not have to cheapen myself with an imitation worship. I have the real thing. According to the world, I am the sacrifice if I do not make someone else the sacrifice. I need to dehumanize others and they need to do the same for it to be easier to do. According to God, Jesus died for me and everyone else around me, so I should not take advantage of them, belittle them, bully them, press them down, waste their time, be inconsiderate to them, be moody towards them, be dismissive of them…and the list goes on. These are potentially people who will be singing “Salvation belongs to our God” alongside me in heaven.

Dear God,

What a privilege to be included in the “we” who will worship you in this way in heaven! I am eternally grateful for the amazing picture we have been included in. What an awesome thing it will be to worship you alongside people of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, and languages!  I, who was the rebel, the enemy, the one unworthy to receive such a gift, have been given it freely, have been given it fully. Thank you for paying the high cost and helping me daily to live my life in such a way that it honors that price.

Submitted by Jiseon C. Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Revelation 7:9

  • Reflect on the words “a great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language.”  In Revelation 5:9, it says that Jesus “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”  Spend some time marveling over the fact that you have been included in this “great multitude” and write a prayer of gratitude and praise for God and to the Lamb. 

Each time I read through various passages in Revelation, my heart swells with emotion, awe and longing for the day when these words will actually come to pass. It amazes me as the book of Revelation foretells that there will come a time when multitudes among multitudes will surround the Lamb around his throne, and we will be donning white robes and holding palm branches in our hands. We had just finished reflection on the events of the passion and recounted the scene before Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt in the triumphal entry. There the people laid palm branches and their cloaks before him and praised his entry into the city. But we know how that story turned, and only a week later, the crowd was shouting to crucify him. And I also know that the crowd represents each one of us, including myself. And somehow, as one who identifies with the crowd in having part in crucifying my Lord, somehow I am given another opportunity to take procession of worshipping and welcoming his presence in my life. The people of every nation, tribe, people and language could hold those palm branches–used to usher in a king–yet again because we would be reinstated by him. Here I, along with multitudes of the redeemed, have another opportunity to raise our palm branches and hail the king.

I am amazed that Jesus will have called multitudes among multitudes to Him, from every nation, tribe, people and language. This teaches me something about God’s amazing zeal for people. That He is actively at work bringing people to him from all nations. This reminds me of what we know from 1 Peter 5:9 where Peter reminds us to hold firmly to the faith, because I have brothers and sisters throughout the world who are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And I am grateful that I have learned of so many who are truly suffering in other countries and circumstances that are so suffocating to live out the Christian faith, and yet their brave and faithful service acts as that plumb line, that measure against which I can see that my small troubles are endurable, as multitudes among multitudes will be triumphant one day.

I also long for the day where I will receive that white robe. These robes belong those who have risen out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb. This fills my heart with gratitude and awe that one day the trials of this life will be a distant memory. Many times in this life I feel assailed by life. The pressures of the daily grind, the physical, the emotional and the spiritual ailments that people face, the sufferings of people I only hear about in the news, or sufferings of those who I care deeply about. I feel helpless against my sins, my strongholds, stubborn character flaws I cannot seem to shake off, my greed and worldliness that I battle with day in and day out. But one day, as in one the words of that hymn, my sin, not in part but the whole will be nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more! I will wash that robe and it will be made clean, no more to be soiled yet again, but the sanctification process will be complete! My robe will remain pure, clean, and vibrant! It will be soiled no longer by the undulations of my character and sinful heart. In the spring of living water ever flowing my robe, my credit, my name, my heart will be rinsed off all guilt, remorse, rebellion, wickedness and divisiveness. All the manifestations of my pride that brings such grief to God, to others and to myself will be washed away, and I will be able to get lost in the throng of others who have been washed and can raise our hands and hearts of truly losing myself completely in worship of one who is truly worthy of our worship.

So many times I fail to understand the thrill of participating in worship, to get lost in praising and honoring one who is truly worthy of worship, because I’m so worried about me, to make something of myself.   I have to allow myself to experience more and more the rightness and appropriateness of worship of He who is worthy of worship, the one who purchased me by His blood.

Dear God,

How this vision captures the deepest cries of my heart–to get completely lost in worship. Sometimes in my saner moments, the truth that somehow You have chosen me to be part of the multitude fills me with a sense of utter gratitude. There is such joy in being in the community of your believers, to know and to be known, to run this race together, to serve Him together so that somehow through our unity, our individual work is multiplied. Thank you for being the shepherd who walks with us in this life, through the hills and valleys of our lives. You know our pains and sufferings in this life, the reality of cancer, disease, emotional scars, addictions that beat us down, demoralize us, leaves us sometimes feeling helpless. And on this side of eternity, maybe some of these ailments will never leave us. I must continue living with myself with the struggle against my pride, greed and competitiveness that create such misery. But I know that I just need to keep coming back to God in repentance so that God will forgive, restore and give me a new start each time. But these words fill me with a sense of promise, that there will come a day, when the Lamb, who is my good Shepherd, will lead me to the stream that flows with the blood he poured out on my behalf, where I can wash my robes one last time, because in heaven I will truly be made whole!  Thank you Dear Jesus, my sin not in part, but the whole will one day be nailed to the cross and I will bear it no more, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, oh my soul!

 

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