(But I’ll Bet You Haven’t)
It was a harsh and hostile time, filled with great uncertainty. Public favor seemed to rock back and forth. One minute they were praised and celebrated, and the next they were vilified. A generation earlier a ragtag cast of characters had electrified the world with the testimony that Jesus Christ, who had been crucified outside Jerusalem, had risen from the dead and was alive to this day.
But what started in a supernatural flurry of worship and wonder soon turned ugly. Religious opposition on one side, cultural opposition on the other, and this ever-growing movement began feeling the wrath of a world more consumed with control, power, money and pleasure.
Fast forward… now all the original cast is dead – all martyrs – but one. John is a very old man who has been forced to live in exile on a rocky island called Patmos. Persecution of his brothers and sisters by the Romans is at fever pitch. No one knew from one day to the next whether this would be the day they stood at the tip of a sword and were forced to declare that “Caesar is lord” or face the consequences.
It was in such a time that John had a miracle encounter with that risen Christ. There was no mistaking who this was – the old man immediately fell at His feet as if he were dead. Calling him to stand, the Lord Jesus showed John some things – amazing, remarkable things we now call the book of Revelation.
In one scene He takes John to a throne room and shows him in picturesque language what is taking place in heaven even to this day:
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“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 existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:8-11).
I mention all this to point out one word. One passing word that I have glossed over for years. In their worship, the living creatures give glory and honor to Him who sits on the throne. But they also give thanks.
Thanks? For what? “Thank you” is a response to something someone has done. The living creatures were saying “thanks” to Him who sits on the throne. So what had He done?
Sure, there are many ways you could answer that question. But the current scene that John was exposed to only describes two things He is doing. He is sitting on a throne. And He is living forever and ever.
And they were saying thank you.
Thank You for sitting on the throne.
Thank You for living forever and ever.
Maybe we should, too. Maybe we should recognize God’s current position and activity in heaven, not just what He has done to impact our limited worlds.
The nations may rage, but He’s still on the throne. And He lives forever and ever.
The innocent may perish, but He’s still on the throne. And He lives forever and ever.
Men’s hearts may fail them for fear, but He’s still on the throne. And He lives forever and ever.
So let’s try that:
Thank you, Lord, for sitting on the throne. Thank you for establishing Your reign and occupying the throne of Your authority. Thank You for ruling the nations and kingdoms of this world. Thank You for not vacating the seat of your authority, even when at times I tried to usurp the throne of my own heart.
Thank you Lord for living forever and ever. Thank you for overcoming death and the grave. Thank you for having the final say over the wages of sin.
Maybe it’s just me, but the uncertainties of this world don’t seem so uncertain anymore.
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