Pastor Lorne gave us this message back on Feb 15th but I think it’s something we all need to hear.
He started by saying over his lifetime, he’s studied scriptures, read them and preached on them but lately, mainly because of the Wed night Bible study, something caught his eye. He said he never really had a good picture of before in his mind, of what the glory of God really was. So he wanted to take a few moments and paint an picture of the glory of God. How great and majestic He is.
He said sometimes we hear flippant remarks about Him and sometimes people talk about Him as if He was just another guy. We take him for granted. If we need help, we ask what we want and expect to get it. We sometimes refer to him as the man upstairs. Or we see pictures of a frail old man sitting on a throne and kind of looking down. So many times we hear and see God as being a little better and a little stronger than us. Someone who an do more things than we can.
But as Pastor Lorne started to read through scripture, about what some of the people saw and heard from God, he figured if he’d been there at the time, he probably would’ve had a heart attack. He said he didn’t think his human body would be able to stand it. He said they were almost near death from experiencing it because it was just so great and so wonderful.
In Isaiah 6:1-7, Pastor Lorne said Isaiah had a vision of great and wonderful things that caused him to realize how much of a sinner he really was. And as he looked at these things, his cry was, ‘Woe to me I’m ruined because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.' So he was really filled with fear and wondered what was going to happen. He said he was ruined, done for. He’d seen this great vision of what God is like and all of a sudden, the glory and the righteousness of God was in sharp contrast to his own life. So he was in the presence of God for those few moments, he was just totally taken by what he saw.
There are many places in the Old Testament where people had an opportunity to stand in the presence of God. Daniel 7:9-10 says, ‘As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.’
So this is the vision that Daniel saw. Pastor Lorne said if you go back to V7, Daniel describes the beasts as ‘terrifying and frightening and very powerful’. These are things Daniel saw that would happen in the future. Pastor Lorne said he could imagine Daniel just pouring sweat as he saw and experienced all these great and wonderful things.
He said we hear of men and dictators and others who aspire to be world leaders and they say ‘I’m going to do this and you do that.’ And James talks about that and says we can’t take tomorrow and say this will happen because we don’t know what will happen. Things just don’t work that way.
But what does God think about all this? In 2 kings 19:28 God says, ‘Because you rage against me and your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came.' Pastor Lorne said if you know livestock at all you know if you put a ring in a bull’s nose, you can pretty well take a 2000 lb bull and control him. Same as a bit in a horse’s mouth. And God says that to this king who thought he was pretty big. So God still is in control. He’s big enough that he can cause people to do whatever he wants them to do.
Prov 21:1 says, ‘The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.’ Pastor Lorne said you know when you have a creek and the water follows along that ditch and goes wherever the ditch is, and God said he would direct that king just like water through the curves and turns in the ditch. God said that’s how that king will have to follow Him. So he uses that as an illustration of how He can control and deal with people.
Pastor Lorne said we’ll go right to the book of Revelations for the next scriptures. He said this is where we really find the greatness of God and how wonderful he really is. He said he trusts in a small way, to be able to paint a picture for us of how majestic and powerful God is. He said he doesn’t think our human bodies can survive being in God’s presence because we are so weak compared to Him.
When you consider what John saw in Rev 1:12-18 and the effect it had on him, no wonder he fell before Him like he was dead. It was too wonderful and too great, he just couldn’t take it all in.
Another illustration of the greatness of God is in Rev 4:1-6 where John saw all these great and wonderful things. Pastor Lorne said reading that scripture gave him another glimpse of how great God really is. How wonderful and powerful is the God that we serve and life for. He said it amazes him as he thinks of those things.
In v4, John then talks about the 24 elders surrounding the throne which threw off flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Pastor Lorne said he could just imagine the loudest and most brilliant summer thunder storm he’d ever been in. A deep rumbling, crashes of thunder, flashing lightning and everything happening around the throne of God. The God we serve isn’t just “the man upstairs”. He’s not this old man. He’s not just some figure that we pray to or lift our eyes up to. Here’s a picture of the greatness of God. The pealing thunder just a roaring. John must have been totally overcome by those things.
Pastor Lorne said when John saw all those lamp stands blazing, he must have looked for a welding helmet to ward off the blazing light. He was unable to stand and look because of the brightness of God.
He said v6 talks about the 4 winged creatures. Pastor Lorne said he was sure John hadn’t seen anything like it. They had eyes all over them, front and back. One had a lion’s face, another like an ox, another like a man and the other one like an eagle. They were covered with eyes all around and they even had eyes under their wings. And they were crying out, ‘Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is to come.' And whenever they did that, the 24 elders would fall down and they would worship God. There would be just a great lot of activity with the thunder and the lightning and the blazing lights and all these people worshipping God.
Pastor Lorne said that would be quite an experience. Something to see. It would be wonderful and terrifying. He said he was sure John would’ve been just quivering as he experienced all these things. Pastor Lorne said it would be a terrible thing – an experience of a lifetime wouldn’t even be a good enough way to describe it. He was sure John was just weak after seeing all that.
Rev 5:11-14 adds a little more to this picture: ‘Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise....’
Now if you do the math about this thousands upon thousands, ten thousands upon ten thousands, it would be millions of angels singing praise to God. Lifting up His name. And the elders and the winged creatures all worshiping God. it would be an amazing experience. It would number in the millions. Pastor Lorne said he’s never seen a million people in one place at one time. That’s quite a crowd. But, he said he could imagine the sound, the noise. Then in Rev 14: 2, John said, 'And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder...' Pastor Lorne said it would be like standing and listening to the volume and force of Niagara falls and yet that isn’t even a good enough illustration.
So all these things is what John saw when he saw God lifted up and saw what His glory was all about. Pastor Lorne said it’s just a little glimpse of how great God is. How wonderful and powerful he is. And majestic. Like they say, it blows your mind. It’s almost too much to imagine. The Bible even says the description John gives doesn’t really even describe God. He describes the throne and everything that happened in the surr just the throne and everything that happens around it. But John only talks about God briefly. Pastor Lorne said he believes it’s because John couldn’t really look at Him. We know that Moses covered his face before he met God. Even the winged creatures around the throne covered their eyes with one set of wings because of the glory of God.
Rev 5:13 says, ‘13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" Pastor Lorne asked us if we can imagine what that would sound like, with every creature in heaven, every creature on earth, and under the earth, and in the sea all singing. It would be a choir we can’t compare to anything else.
Pastor Lorne spoke of George Beverly Shea who has sung with great choirs made up of 1500-2000 people and yet all those choirs combined is nothing compared to what the choir in heaven that will bow down before God and look at His majesty and at His Grace. The Bible says every living being on the earth and in the sea will lift up its voice and will say, ‘"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
Pastor Lorne said you and I don’t serve a God who’s rushing around in heaven thinking: this guy’s in trouble, how can I fix this. He just covers everything. He said the thing that really got to him was that even in all His greatness, He still cares enough for you and me to send His son from all the glories of heaven to die on the cross and shed his blood to pay the penalty of our sins.
God cares about our lives. He cares about the things we’re going through. Our aches and pains, sicknesses and heartaches and our situations. Yet Pastor Lorne said he just don’t understand how God can be so concerned with us when you consider all this other stuff going on in heaven with people singing, praising, worshiping and throwing down their crowns. He said in another place, vials of all the saint’s prayers were brought before God and in their time, all these things would be brought to pass.
But to realize that He loved his creation enough to give up His only Son so that you and I could be free from sin so that one day we will stand before that throne and we’re going to put our crowns down before Him. We’re going to worship Him and we’re going to praise Him. And we’re going to say, ‘"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" And that’s just going to be one marvelous day. It’s going to be terrific!
Mat 11:28 says ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Today, even though God is so great and so wonderful, He wants to give you rest in your heart and in your soul. He tells us in Scripture that in this life, we will have tribulation and problems but He will give us rest.
Pastor Lorne said he fails at telling us how great and wonderful God really is. He said in heaven, people are worshiping God. Worship and praise going on all the time. He said as the Keller’s go back up to lead worship, if we couldn’t lose ourselves in the presence of God...