Journal Rev 4 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne (who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him (who lives forever and ever).
They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and,
by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:9-11)
Observation: Revelation 4 portrays a bunch of beings worshiping God; verse 9 gathers all the descriptions up and lumps them into the category “living creatures.” And then there are the Elders, 24 of them, reacting in a certain way that I take notice of…
Analysis: In the past year or so, this section of Revelation has gripped me.
It has come in a time where I am wrestling with ego verses the Cross. (I would say “was wrestling” but no one ever fully completes an issue being a disciple—it always pops back up sometimes in a life.)
Being a charismatically influenced Reformed Theology sort of guy, the question for me is always: “Am I a celebrating son in Christ”, or; “Am I a non-deserving creature of Grace?” I think the answer is BOTH.
I am loved. I am embraced by the Father of Heaven as a son. I am welcomed into an intimate circle of being cared for by the Most High God. Inconceivably, He rejoices over me with singing:
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zeph 3:17; cp Ps 105:43, Prov 8:31b
Angels are dumbfounded and puzzled on why such love was lavished upon Man (1 Pet 1:12).
That is one side.
I am not deserving of His love. I am at heart a traitor to his ways. All my ways are in opposition to His rule and reign. My sin condemns me before His holiness. I deserve His wrath. I am redeemed by His Sovereign decision even though I have no value other than His choice to give me Grace and to show me Mercy.
That is the other side.
Both sides are equally true. One does not trump the other.
That is why preaching the Gospel to myself is so important. I want to understand the depth and height of what it cost to redeem me everyday so that I do not get full of myself.
Additionally, with that firmly in mind, I begin to really understand why these Elders, these important saints standing before God, cast (verb: throw, chuck, fling, toss, pitch, etc.) their crowns at His feet. Whatever the crowns were awarded for from Jesus, these guys knew that, in comparison, they did not deserve it—only Jesus deserves any and all praise and glory.
This is clear from my side. Probably makes Jesus nuts: “Here, take this with my blessing.” “No, no, I don’t deserve this” and back and forth and back and forth.
I wonder if He ever has a thought: “Ok then, I will keep it. That’ll show them…”
Probably not. He is good that way.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for providing a way of redemption through the blood of the Son, my Lord. Holy Spirit, thank you for making me alive in You by causing me to be born again, not physically but by and in You O Spirit.
Keep me holding both of these understandings equally—not abandoning one in preference of the other because leaning primarily either way skews my view of You—and, boy, I really want to have You firmly in front of my eyes all my days.
Bring revival, AMEN.