Worship in heaven
There's a description of worship in heaven to be found in the fourth chapter of Revelation. John was taken up through a door to behold a scene that must have been mind blowing. He would need the help of the Holy Spirit to describe the heavenly scene in earthly language. I remember reading how, when they first saw a steam train travelling across the plains of the United States, native Americans described it as an 'iron horse'. They had no language or experience to comprehend the sight they beheld. How much more difficult is John's task, to convey the wonder of the throne of God, the sights and sounds around it, the four living creatures covered all over their bodies with eyes, and the 24 elders encircling the throne.
There are signs of great power – the flashes of lightning, the thunder, the glorious light, the sevenfold Spirit of God, the sea like glass that allows heaven to see perfectly through to the earth below, the four living creatures equipped with wings that allow them to circle the One at the centre of the throne. They are totally covered with eyes so they can see as much of God as possible and speak of each new revelation of his holy nature. Then there are the 24 elders, who were once sinners just like we were, and redeemed by Jesus the Messiah, just as we were. And each time the living creatures reveal some new aspect of God's holy nature, the elders fall down in worship. The 'wow' factor is out of this world! Now that's a worship meeting! Who would not be able to worship in that place?
Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.
Worship in the wilderness
Now let's turn to the fourth chapter of Matthew and we find ourselves in the wilderness. Jesus is there. Following his baptism, the Holy Spirit has led him there and he's been fasting for 40 days. His body has reached the limit of endurance and he needs food to stay alive. Now enter Satan. He has some ideas for Jesus to deal with his needs. Jesus is the Word made flesh, so he can speak to a stone and turn it into bread for his stomach. But Jesus has eternity in mind and the bread of the word of God is life feeds you forever. (Deut 8: 3 & John 4:34).
Next, he offers an idea for Jesus to get his message across. A squadron of angels catching him as he plummets from the temple will really draw the crowds. But testing God is not on Jesus' agenda (Deut 6:16). He will do this God's way. (God only asks us to test him in one thing: bringing the whole tithe, so that he can open the floodgates of blessing – Malachi 3:8-10).
And finally a short cut to becoming king of the earth and all its kingdoms. Just worship me, says Satan and I'll give it all to you. So now we come to worship again.
But Jesus proclaims that only God is to be worshipped (Deut 6:13). Jesus' reply is a double whammy against Satan. Lucifer, as he once was, was in charge of worship in heaven, until he thought that he should himself be the object of worship (Isaiah 14:12-15 & Ezekiel 28:11-19). And for his arrogance and pride he was cast from his role and position. Now all he has is what Adam gave him in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus has come to take that from him and leave him with nothing. Absolutely nothing!
And as Jesus turns to worship God, Satan is reminded of what he once had, but threw away and of what he is about to lose. In the fellowship of worship between Jesus and his Father, Satan is pushed out and excluded and has to leave.
You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being
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