1 "Who Is Worthy?"
"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." Revelation 5:1-5
Once again I came to the end of our current theme and prayed that God would lead me to our next topic. As I was reading in Genesis 32 I came to verse 10 where Jacob said, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant..." The verse stood out in my mind and I was discussing with Mike the possibility of using it for my devotions. That night the preacher opened his Bible and read the text including Matthew 8:8 where the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof..." I feel that the Lord is leading me in this direction, so let's look in the scriptures and find the answer to the question, "Who is worthy?"
2 "I Am Not Worthy"
"And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." Genesis 32:9-12
Jacob traded Esau some red pottage for his birthright when he was hungry and faint, and later stole his blessing by pretending to be Esau. He had to flee from his home and family to keep Esau from killing him. Jacob served Laban in Padanaram for twenty years (Genesis 31:38) and now God has said, "I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred." (Genesis 31:13) I believe chapter 32 is a turning point for Jacob. He was afraid of Laban when he left (Genesis 31:31) and he was afraid of meeting his brother as he went forward (Genesis 32:7). When we are afraid of what is behind us, and we are afraid of what is before us, the only way we can turn is up. Jacob looked up to God, the God of his father Abraham, and the God of his father Isaac and he said, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands." Jacob may have felt that his father Isaac was worthy of God's blessings, and his grandfather Abraham was worthy of God's blessings, but he came right out and admitted, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies... which thou hast shewed..." As I look back over my life and see the mistakes and failures of my past, I too must confess, "I am not worthy of the least of all God's mercies." And just as Jacob started out with just a staff and God gave him rich blessings, I see that God has given me salvation and provided my needs down through the years. He has blessed me with a loving family and a home full of life's necessities and extra goodness. There is nothing in my character to deserve God's blessings, yet He continues to love me and keep me in His care with daily protection and provisions. I can say with the Psalmist, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." (Psalms 68:19) When Jacob came to the end of himself, he found God.
3 The Centurion's Faith
"Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick." Luke 7:1-10
This account is also given in Matthew 8, but I used these verses in Luke because it shows what the people said as compared to what the centurion said. The centurion sent the elders who said "That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue." This man was up-lifted in the eyes of the people of Capernaum. He could also be praised in that he sent to Jesus to heal his servant. Many times people in authority do not really care about the health or welfare of their servants. But even though the elders said he was worthy, the centurion said of himself, "Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed." He did not feel worthy to trouble Jesus. In response, Jesus commended his faith. This reminds me of the words of Jesus in Luke 14:8-11. "When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
4 John The Baptist
"And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:" Luke 3:15-16
All four gospels give the account fulfilling the prophesy of "the voice of one crying in the wilderness", the introduction of John the Baptist. His preaching of repentance caused some to think he was the Christ, but John was quick to reply that he was not worthy to unloose the shoes of the coming Christ. What do we know of this John? We know that his parents were righteous before God and his miracle birth was foretold to Zacharias the priest. (Luke 1:5-25) When Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to see Elisabeth, the baby leaped in her womb for joy and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. (Luke 1:39-45) We also read in the scriptures that John baptized Jesus. (Matthew 3:13-17) All of these tell us how important John the Baptist was and yet he said he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of Jesus Christ's shoes. Even more important in the revelation of who John was are the words of our Lord found in Luke 7:24-30, "And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him." Jesus said that there was no greater prophet than John the Baptist. The lowly people heard and received John's message, while the religious leaders rejected it. We must receive the salvation of Christ to have eternal life and we would do well to follow the summation of John's servitude, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
5 The Lost Son Who Came Home
"And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." Luke 15:16-24
Jesus told this parable of the lost son who took his portion of his father's living and wasted it in a far country. After his money was gone and he was starving "he came to himself". He decided to go back to his father and tell him he had sinned against heaven and was no more worthy to be called his son. His father took him in with open arms. God Almighty is our Father and many times we go astray. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but when we finally come to the end of ourselves in repentance we realize that we are not worthy to be His children. But, our heavenly Father is loving and full of mercy and grace. He opens His arms to us and welcomes us back to His fold. Have you strayed away from God? Find your way back to Him and find His mercy and grace. "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)
6 Moses At The Burning Bush
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." Exodus 3:2-6
As Moses kept the flock of his father-in-law on the backside of the desert God appeared to him in a burning bush and told him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. "And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." God then told Moses that he was to go down to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses replied in probably the same way many of us would have, "Who am I, that I should go...?" We have been talking about people in the Bible who said, "I am not worthy" and I think we could put Moses with that group of people. I believe Moses did not feel worthy, or capable of this task, to go before Pharaoh. Remember, he was brought up by Pharaoh's daughter and rejected the kingdom. He had killed an Egyptian and Pharaoh heard about it. Moses fled for his life and now God is telling him to go back to Egypt and make demands to Pharaoh. Moses said "Who am I?" but it may be that he was thinking something like, "Don't you know who I am, Lord? I killed an Egyptian. Pharaoh will kill me. I'm just one man... I don't have an army to face Pharaoh." God continues telling Moses what is going to happen, and Moses' next excuse is, "they will not believe me..." (Exodus 4:1) Moses finally believes God and goes with Aaron before Pharaoh. Sometimes God may give us a task that we don't feel worthy of, or capable of, but we need to remember that if God has purposed that we complete the task He will give us the strength and power we need to get the job done.
7 King David Said, "Who Am I?"
"And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant. For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears" II Samuel 7:16-22
Yesterday we looked at Moses at the burning bush and his question to God, "Who am I, that I should go...?" We talked about how Moses felt unworthy for the task before him. In our story today, King David has just decided to build a house for God and told Nathan the prophet. God appeared to Nathan and told him that David would not build the Lord a house, but the Lord would build the kingdom of David forever. David answers, "Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" King David felt unworthy of God's blessings on him. When we look back at the great men and women of the Bible we sometimes see them as "super" humans. But they were men and women just as we are today. If David, who killed the giant with a sling and a stone, King David who was king over Israel, David who was called a man after God's heart (Acts 13:22) could feel unworthy of God's blessings, how much more should this humble our hearts? I know that I have not attained great things for the Lord as these Bible heroes we often read about. Who am I that God should bless me? Who am I that He should supply all my need? Who am I that He should die for me? Just like David we can say, "Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears."
8 Who Am I To Give To The Lord?
"Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee." I Chronicles 29:10-17
We have come to the last chapter in the life of King David. God told King David that he could not build the temple so the task was handed down to his son, King Solomon. Before his death, David offered gold and silver for the Lord's house. The people also gave willingly of the gold, silver, and precious metals and gems, all that was needed for the building and furnishing of the temple. King David and all the people rejoiced at the abundance offered and David blessed the Lord. Once again David asked the question, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." If you stop and think about it, all that we have to give to God belongs to God anyway. What can we give to God that doesn't already belong to God? One answer is found in verse 17, "I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee." Giving back to the Lord with a willing heart pleases God, but also David said God has pleasure in uprightness. If I ask the question, "Who am I that I can give anything to God?" then the answer would be that I am nobody because everything I have already belongs to God. But, it pleases God for us to give back to Him of the things He has given us. It also pleases God for us to live righteously.
9 Who Is Worthy To Be Happy?
"So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?" Ruth 1:19-21
The little book of Ruth starts out in a sad way. A famine came to Bethlehem-judah and Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, took their two sons and journeyed to Moab. In the process of time Elimelech and his two sons died and Naomi was left alone with two daughters-in-law. She told them that she was going back home and that they should return to their people. Orpah went to go back to her family but Ruth stayed with Naomi. "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" (Ruth 1:16) As our verses above tell us, the people said, "Is this Naomi?" Her name meant, "Pleasant" but Naomi said to call her "Mara" which meant "Bitter". She did not feel worthy of her name because she started out happy and came back bitter. There are many people in our world today who start out happy in life, brought up in church, happy with home and family. But they leave Bethlehem-judah, the "House of Bread and Praise" and journey to Moab, which is called the "Washpot" in Psalm 60:8. I know people who were happy in church, serving God, when they were growing up, but they left church and lost their joy. After years away from God they don't want to go back to church and they get bitter inside. The book of Ruth may have a sad beginning, but it has a wonderful ending. "So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David." (Ruth 4:13-17) God can restore your joy. Find your way back to God. He is right where you left Him.
10 "In The Year That King Uzziah Died"
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 6:1-5
Isaiah opens this chapter with, "In the year that King Uzziah died..." so let's look at what we know about King Uzziah. In II Chronicles 26:3-5 we read, "Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper." Our President takes office for four years and if he is a God-fearing man we praise the Lord. King Uzziah reigned for 52 years and he was a good king. When he died Isaiah, the prophet, may have been sad and discouraged, but he looked up and saw "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up..." He saw The King of Kings sitting on His throne. What was his reaction to seeing the LORD of hosts? "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." When we see the Lord in all His glory we see how small and undone we really are. Let's continue with the next three verses, "Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Isaiah 6:6-8) Isaiah may have been wondering who could take the place of good King Uzziah but when God called, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" then Isaiah said, "Here am I; send me." We could learn from this little piece of Bible history. We see our loved ones and Christian leaders go on to heaven and sometimes we look around and say that there aren't many followers of God still working for the Lord. We may get disheartened when we don't see Christians stepping in and taking their places. But, what about us? When we take our eyes off the ones that have gone on, and get out eyes on God, yes it will make us see how lowly we really are. But, it should also wake us up to the reality that we need to go for God. We don't need to sit around waiting on others to carry the gospel message. Jesus said, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." (John 4:35) Will you go for the Lord?
11 Ezekiel Saw The Glory Of The Lord
"Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God... And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake." Ezekiel 1:1 & 26-28
Ezekiel was with the captives in the land of the Chaldeans when He saw the visions of God's glory. It was so marvelous that when he saw it he fell on his face. God called to him and told him that He was sending him to the house of Israel and He would give him the words to speak. But God did not give Ezekiel much hope that the Children of Israel would listen to him. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted." (Ezekiel 3:4-7) Sometimes God leads us to witness and we feel like we are wasting our time. We may say that they won't listen to us anyway. Do we still need to be a witness to these people? Yes, we do. God gives Ezekiel some mighty words that we need to heed. "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
12 Isn't God Something!
"I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: ..." Psalm 18:1-3
Two or three years ago I saw some small New Testament Bibles in the Dollar Store and I liked them so much I bought all they had. We were collecting items to send overseas to the troops at that time and I bought all I could find. We liked them so much we decided to order a full case. We sent these little Bibles overseas and I gave each member of my family one for Christmas. I kept a few put away and I had not thought about them lately. This morning I was reading my Bible in Exodus where God called Moses up to Mount Sinai and spoke to him. I felt like God was speaking to me and wanted me to be a witness at my doctor visit this afternoon. He impressed me to take one of the little Bibles with me for a little girl who would want one. (I used to carry one in my pocketbook to give to children when I felt led.) When I got to the doctor's office there were no little children in the lobby and I started filling out the paperwork thinking one would come in while I waited. On this visit, I was called back as soon as I finished and began to wonder if I had misunderstood God's message. The young lady helping me was very cordial and we talked while I stepped on the scales and she took my blood pressure. She asked if I had any complaints and I told her I felt good, but I was having trouble with my weight because I am a grandmother and I enjoy making cookies and such with my grandchildren. She said she also enjoyed making cookies with her daughter. I asked her how old her daughter was and she said that she was six. I then asked her if she would like to have a little Bible. She quickly replied, "Yes, isn't that something. I just told my husband that I wanted to get her a little Bible to put in her Easter basket. Isn't God something!" I had to wipe away the tears when she walked out of the room and agree with her, "Yes, isn't God something!" He alone is worthy of our praise! We would be amazed at all the Lord could do through us if we would only listen and heed His voice. "Isn't God something!"
13 What Is Man?
"O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." Psalm 8:1, 3-5
This is one of my favorite Psalms. I grew up in a time where there were not many street lights and you could look up to the skies on a clear night and see the moon and stars. There were times when I was amazed at the vast number of stars across the sky. This Psalm brings those memories back to me in these words which have become so familiar to me over the years, "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens... When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" These verses make me feel so small, not even a speck in God's universe. What is man that God would care for us? God created all things for His pleasure as we read in Revelation 4:11. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." God alone is worthy of all our praise and worship. We began last week with these devotions on "Who Is Worthy?" and I hope that we have been able to see through the scriptures how big our God is, and thus see how small we are. As we think on these things, it should amaze us even more to think that God loved us so much He would give His Son to die for us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
14 Our Righteousness Is As Filthy Rags
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6
Many believe that when they die they will be somehow put in a balance and if their "good" outweighs their "bad" then they will go to heaven. Often the people who believe this weigh their sins against those whom they consider to be worse than themselves. But if we took the same balance and weighed our sins against the righteousness of the Lord we would surely fail. Our righteousnesses are described as filthy rags, and we also read in Romans 3:10, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" How then can we be counted worthy of eternity in heaven? Only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I like the verse in Romans 4:3, "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Titus 3:5 is another good example of how we do not depend on our own works of righteousness, but on the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" All of these vereses make it very clear that we can't approach God and heaven with our own merits, but only through faith in the holy Son of God and His death and resurrection, so there is nothing within us worthy of sinful pride. Let our praise and glory be to the Lord. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (I Corinthians 1:30-31)
15 "Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain"
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:6-13
Two weeks we began with the first five verses of this chapter, a portion reads, "And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book..." (Revelation 5:2-5) During these two weeks we have been searching the scriptures to answer the question, "Who is worthy?" I hope that you have been able to see that the answer is very clear, only our Redeemer, the Lamb that was slain, the precious only begotten Son of God, our loving Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, is worthy of our praise. His names are many. His purpose for coming on that first Christmas morn was one: to live and die, to present Himself as our sacrifice. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Corinthians 5:21) John tells us in our scriptures above that the great number of angels, "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" proclaim with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." If you do not know the Lamb of God as your personal Lord and Saviour, I pray that you will trust in the Lord today. Romans 14:11 tells us "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." If you bow to Him today you can praise Him forever and ever. If you turn Him away, you can be sure that you will bow to Him on that great Judgment Day, but it will be too late to receive His gift of salvation. Please turn to Him today, for He alone is worthy.