This morning I was on my way to a few appointments (one being the dentist) and for some reason my Bluetooth in my car decided to connect to my audio for my bible devotions! I have the ‘classic’ version of ‘Bible in one year’ on my phone and you have the option to read or listen to it audibly if you choose. I did not select the audible option and of course,
you are not allowed to touch your phone while driving so I figured the Lord wanted me to hear this being spoken to me today!
Well, the intro was all about Handel’s Messiah…
Over 55 million people have now watched a YouTube clip of unsuspecting shoppers who get a surprise while eating lunch. A young woman, seemingly enjoying her lunch in a food court, stands up. She appears to be on her mobile phone. She begins singing the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. All around her, over 100 (clearly prearranged) opera singers stand up one by one and join in.
‘Messiah’ is George Frederick Handel’s most famous work. It tells the story of Jesus – the Messiah. Part Two is about his death on the cross, his resurrection and his ascension into heaven. It ends with the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. In the spring of 1742, King George II rose to his feet as the first notes of the triumphant ‘Hallelujah’ chorus rang out. Royal protocol has always demanded that, whenever the monarch stands, so too does everyone in the monarch’s presence. Thus, the entire audience and orchestra stood. King George II had accepted that he too was subject to the Lord of lords and King of kings.
The word ‘Hallelujah’ is an invitation to worship – it literally means ‘Praise (Hallal) the Lord’ (Yahweh). It occurs twenty-four times in the Old Testament (mainly in the Psalms) and it occurs four times in the New Testament – each of them in our passage for today.
While listening to Rev Nicky Gumbel reading the above out to me while driving, it took me back to when I was a child – because every time I was participating in hearing Handel’s Messiah being played and sung, my dad would always stand! I also have had the privilege of attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah being played at the Albert Concert Hall in London in 2009 and of course when it was to start playing the chorus… the whole concert hall of 5,000 plus all stood in one accord! It was quite a moment.
Following on from the intro there is another reader – David Suchet (plays in shows, Poirot and more) who reads out the scripture passages and he went onto read out Revelation 19:1-10 NIV.
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
3 And again they shouted:
“Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried:
5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
“Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!”
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
What grabbed and moved my spirit as this passage was read out, was the imagery of ‘a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah!...’.
I have stood in front of waterfalls in Iceland (2022) that have roared with such ferociousness, that you can’t hear what is said around you but when your hand is on your chest you can feel it reverberating within. Can you just imagine us being part of a throng of singers, giving our all-in song to our creator BUT it will be a harmonious ‘Roar’ of Hallelujah!
As the Angel said to write… ‘blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb’. I have been invited to that wedding supper and as I was driving along, I was picturing, being dressed in the fine (elegant to the touch), bright (gleaming in the radiance coming from our Lord) and clean (better than lemon fresh) garment – Oh what a wedding that will be.
I was so humbled by this imagery going through my mind while driving and I started to tear up in gratitude to my Saviour who desires to have me participate in this with Him. What an honour!
As we move from the celebrations of Christmas to welcoming in another New Year, how can we not be willing to give Jesus Christ our everything in song, worship, and praise. To step into 2024 and pledge ourselves afresh for all that is needed for the season ahead of us in telling others about Christ and serving Him.
Praying that you will spend some time in the coming days to put things into perspective with Jesus.
Psalm 148:2b-5a NIV
‘praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. 4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord’