“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created.”
At the beginning of chapter four, the location of John’s vision shifts from Patmos to Heaven. The first thing John notices there is God’s throne and its surroundings. And what surrounds God’s throne — besides angelic creatures and environs so glorious that John had to get metaphorical to describe them — is 24 lesser thrones and 24 elders on these thrones. The living creatures — the angelic beings — praise God regularly and the elders regularly join in. This morning’s verse is what the elders say in worship of God as an answer to the angelic creatures’ praises of God.
First, the elders say that God is worthy … to receive glory. The dictionary defines glory as “adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving.” God is worthy; He is deserving of my adoration, my praise, my worship, and my gratitude.
Second, the elders say that God is worthy … to receive … honor. God is worthy of my respect and reverence.
Third, the elders say that God is worthy … to receive … power. Of the three, I find this the strangest assertion. The first two are things that one definitely receives, but power is something that God has regardless of whether or not I give it to Him. I can withhold the others — my withholding will not make Him any less worthy of honor and glory, but it will withhold my share of it from Him — but I cannot withhold power. Where I think this is going is the idea of God receiving power over my life. He could force that, but He chooses not to. He permits me the freedom to make decisions — even terrible ones. So I find myself understanding this as God is deserving of my submission.
The elders proceed to give reasons why God is worthy.
Reason one: God created all things. The fact that He is the Maker of everything makes Him worthy of glory, honor, and power.
Reason two: Everything was created because of God’s will. Not only did He make everything, but He wanted to make everything. This is kind of a big deal when I consider that He knew that mankind would fall and that He would have to come and walk among us and die horribly to redeem us before He spoke the first words of creation. Before “Let there be light.” there was knowledge of what would happen in the light of the sun and moon and stars. Knowing that, He chose to create anyway. Would I have chosen to create if I knew it would go that wrong — even if I knew I could fix it, but at a terrible price? I cannot say that I would. But God did.
This morning I am reminded that God is worthy; deserving of my adoration, my praise, my worship, my gratitude, my respect, my reverence, and my submission because He made everything and He did so even though He knew what it would cost Him.
Father, thank You for creating even though You knew what it would cost know. Small wonder, then, that You tell us to count the cost before following You. Please teach my heart to worship and adore You better and to be grateful; my lips to praise You better; my mind to be in awe of You; na dmy will to be submitted to You. You deserve all of these and more.