Praise One of the Chief Employments of Heaven. That’s the title of one of my favorite sermons of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). The sermon was based upon Revelation 14:2, 3. The Apostle John wrote,
“And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song…”
Edwards’ main point (he calls it “doctrine”) is this:
“The work of saints in heaven very much consists in praising God.”
He would go on to list four reasons for a believers unceasing praise:
1. Because they see God.
“They who see God cannot but praise Him. He is a Being of such glory and excellence that the sight of this excellence of His will necessarily influence those who behold it to praise Him. Such a glorious sight will awaken and rouse all the powers of the soul, and will irresistibly impel and draw them into acts of praise. Such a sight enlarges their souls and fills them with admiration, and with unspeakable exultation of spirit.”
2. They will have another sense of the greatness of the fruits of God’s mercy than we have here in this world.
“They will not only have a sight of the glorious attributes of God’s goodness and mercy in their beatific vision of God, but they will be sensible of the exceeding greatness of the fruits of it, the greatness of the benefits that He has bestowed. They will have another sense of the greatness and manifoldness of the communications of His goodness to His creation in general. They will be more sensible of how God is the fountain of all good, the Father of lights, from whom proceeds every good and perfect gift.”
3. Another reason is that they will be perfect in humility.
“The humble person admires the goodness and grace of God to him. He sees more how wonderful it is that God should take such notice of him, and show such kindness to him, who is so much below His notice…[they] are so much the more sensible of their own comparative nothingness…They are the more sensible of the infinite difference there is between God and them, and therefore are more sensible how wonderful it is that God should take so much notice of them as to have such communion with them, and give them such a full enjoyment of Himself.”
4. Their love to God and Christ will be perfect.
“Heaven will ring with praise because it is full of love to God. This is the reason why that great assembly, that innumerable host, praises God with such ardency, that their praise is as the voice of many waters, and as the mighty thunderings, because they are animated by so ardent, vigorous, and powerful a principle of divine love.”
At church this morning I led a discussion of Romans 8:18-27. Paul contrasts the sufferings of the present with the glories of the future (8:18). He did the same in 2 Corinthians 4 (v.17). His desire was that believers come to understand “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:8). No matter the circumstances (suffering [Rom. 8:18]; momentary, light afflictions [2 Cor. 4:17]), Christians are to be “employed” in praising God. Edwards continued,
“If you praise God sincerely in this world, it will be a sign that you are really to be one of those who shall praise Him in heaven. If any man is found sincerely glorifying God, he will in due time be brought to them as one who is fit to be of their company. Heaven is the appointed place of all sincere praisers of God; they are all to be gathered together there.”
In closing, allow me to ask: Are you a “sincere praiser of God”? If praise is indeed “one of the chief employments of heaven,” we should use our time on earth as a preparation for the unending glorifying of God throughout all eternity. Our lives ought to be marked by praising the ways, the word, and the works of God. However, praising the character of God should take precedent. He is deserving of our praise. He really is.
Examine your life on this Lord’s Day and as you begin another week.
Are you a “sincere praiser of God”?