October 18, 2010
Casting Down Our Golden Crowns
Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
The older we get, it seems we are paying more attention to the words we're singing at church. At least, that's been the case for me.
For example, just this past week I was clued in to what I had really been singing all of these years in the second verse of "Holy, Holy, Holy" …
Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.
Thankfully, someone in my Bible study group mentioned this lyric while we were studying in the book of Revelation. She, too, had never thought about what these words meant until having a light-bulb moment after reading in Revelation 4:9-11 …
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
I did a little further study to see who these elders might be and what their crowns could represent. Some commentators and theologians think they could be a heavenly governing council. Others offer that they might represent redeemed saints of the twelve tribes in the Old Testament and the twelve apostles in the New Testament who rule in God's kingdom. I say, whoever they are, they are ascribing all glory to God as their sovereign ruler.
But why are they wearing crowns? Well, they most likely signify victory—like those given to victors in Greek games—as opposed to those of kings which denote supreme authority. They can also be seen as rewards after judgment of their lives lived on earth. And by laying their crowns before the throne, the elders offer what God has given them right back to him. It's all his. And they show that he is worthy of our total worship and praise.
In Colossians 1:16-17, we read:
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
But what does it mean to worship God like this down here on earth? How do we wear the blessings he has given us as our golden crowns? Are we prepared to give them up—to cast these things down at his feet—as we worship him?
Let's remember today that to him alone should we give all glory. May he help us all to loosen our grips and live lives that give back to him all that he has given to us.
Intersecting Faith & Life: How would you look at the blessings in your life (your friends and family, your possessions, the intangibles) if they each had a "Property of God: If Found Please Return" type of tag on them? Would it make a difference?
Psalm 100:3, NIV
John 1:3, NIV
Acts 17:28, NIV