HEAVENLY HALLELUJAHS AND PRAISING GOD
It can be easy to take some of the most important things in life for granted. From the air we breathe to the force of gravity holding us to Earth, there’s much we assume or ignore. But surely, if we suddenly had no oxygen or started floating away from Earth, we’d once again realize our need for those things.
Often times, only when something is taken away, do we begin to truly appreciate it.
Such was the case for many Christians this year when, for a period of time, we could no longer attend church in person. There are many reasons why this change threw off churchgoers. For one, it altered people’s routines. In-person church being cancelled also meant people couldn’t see their friends. But there was one reason in particular that church members kept voicing over and over—they missed worshiping together in person.
It isn’t surprising that we missed worshiping together. Not only is worship one of the great unifiers of the Church, as every nation and culture worships God in song, and not only is worship beautiful, as there’s nothing quite like imperfect voices all praising God as one. But worshiping God is one of the ultimate purposes of the Church and of all creation. Let’s take a look at the first part of Revelation 19 to learn more about worship.
What Worship Is
At risk of oversimplifying the awe-inspiring depth of worship, there is one word in Revelation 19:1 we can focus on to help us learn what the heart of worship is.
“After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.’”
The word “Hallelujah” comes directly from two Hebrew words. The first, “Halal,” means to praise. The second, “Yah,” means God. When put together into the word hallelujah, they mean “Praise God,” which is exactly what’s happening in the beginning of this chapter. Everyone in Heaven is focused on praising God. For us today, whether it’s in our songs, our decisions, or our day-to-day lives, if we conduct ourselves in a way that brings praise to God, then we are worshiping Him.
Why We Worship
But why should we worship God? Is that Him being insecure? Or egotistical?
In response to these questions, the Bible is loud and clear that we worship God because of His worthiness, His character, and what He has done. In Revelation 19:2, 6–7 we see three praises lifted by the heavenly host worshiping God. These three praises also serve as reasons why God is great and worthy of your hallelujah!
“Hallelujah!… because His judgments are true and righteous… Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
This passage falls right after the God’s judgement on Babylon in chapters 17 and 18. As a result, the first reason God is being praised is for His just judgements. Babylon was wicked and God wouldn’t be good or praiseworthy if He left Babylon’s sins go unpunished.
Then, we see God being praised for His sovereignty. Those worshiping Him in Heaven proclaim that He is almighty and reigns over Earth. There is nothing outside of His power or control, which reveals His unfathomable greatness.
Lastly, those in Heaven rejoice because of the marriage of God’s Son. This marriage of Jesus—the Lamb of God—to His Bride—the Church—is a culminating aspect of God’s redemption of His creation. Instead of giving up on us as sinful humans, Jesus pursued His imperfect Bride. This should cause us to burst out in praise, since we, the Church, will be united with Him forever!
Who We Worship
We need to make sure our praise is pointed in the right direction. We should never worship biblical heroes, famous pastors, or angels. Revelation 19:10 reaffirms what the whole Bible says and reveals to us that we are to worship God and God alone.
“Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’”
Here, John tries to worship the angel who has just revealed all of these glorious visions to him. But the angel doesn’t allow it. Instead, the angel reminds John that only God should be worshiped. This calls back to the Old Testament when God commands Israel to have no other gods before Him and to not make any idols.
So, remembering that we praise God with more than just song, we can now put it all together to conclude that we worship God by making Him ultimate in every area of our lives. Obedience to Him should guide our decisions. Making Him known should change how we live.
Nothing can compare to the justness, sovereignty, or love of God. Therefore, nothing should be worshiped aside from Him.
Let us worship Him!