Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”
The twenty-four elders who surround the throne of God possess some precious gifts. They are seated on their own thrones in a position of power and authority. They are clothed in white to illustrate their purity and righteousness imputed by God. They are crowned in gold, which speaks not only of royalty but also of victory. As the creatures worship, these elders are compelled to join them, but their act of worship is different. Their praise is comprised of more than words. They remove their crowns of gold and cast them down before the throne which is greater than theirs. This act of giving is a recognition of the source of their gifts of victory, purity and royalty. It is also a recognition of the greater gift, which is the honor of standing in God’s heavenly presence.
Being in the presence of God in his throne room is not about receiving but about giving. In that place we certainly would take in many sights and sounds and feelings, but the experience is not about what we take from it. These elders show us that their pure worship of God in that place compels them to take what God has given them and place it right back at his feet. The gifts are awesome, but his presence is more than enough. The crowns, the thrones, the robes and all they represent are amazing and purely the product of grace, but his presence is more than enough. Of all the gifts and honors bestowed upon the elders, none compares to simply being permitted to stand in God’s presence in the heavenlies. It is a necessary lesson for us as we navigate this imperfect place.
We have the option of seeking many things from God. We seek that which He promises to those who love and obey him, and that is not wrong. We can expect God to be faithful and pour his gifts on those of us who also are faithful. He will keep his word. However, if given the option between a gift from God or a moment in his presence, I hope we would select the latter. We should seek him more than we seek his gifts and blessings. We should be prepared to place even those gifts and blessings on the altar of sacrifice and exchange them for a glimpse of his glory. They are great and glorious, but He is infinitely greater and more glorious. Father, teach us to seek You and your presence before we seek that which You give to those who love You.