"Holy God, we praise Thy Name; Lord of all, we bow before Thee. All on earth Thy scepter claim, All in heav'n above adore Thee. Infinite Thy vast domain, Everlasting is Thy reign.
"Thou art King of Glory, Christ; Son of God, yet born of Mary. For us sinners sacrificed, As to death a Tributary, First to break the bars of death, Thou hast opened heav'n to faith."
"All on earth Thy scepter claim," yet people may choose other things to reign over their hearts and lives. Earthly rulers, entertainers, athletes, power, or wealth—these are just a few of the scepters claimed, for now. The apostle Paul spoke of the time when all would bow before the King of kings: "At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11). John heard the praise: "And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13b) Even now, in a world that bows before so many idols, we claim God's scepter as the scepter that rules over us, knowing that one day everyone on earth will acknowledge the reign of God.
In ancient times a conquered nation was often forced to pay tribute, in gold, crops, animals, or people, to the king who held his scepter over them. Fallen in sin, we had been conquered and enslaved, willingly claiming the scepter of Satan. The tribute we owed was death, a one-time payment with eternal consequences, and we had no choice but to pay it. But for our sake, in our place, the King of glory, born of Mary, became the payment, the willing tribute paid to death. Jesus took our sin and guilt onto Himself and suffered the penalty of death that we earned for ourselves. In His death, our debt was paid in full. Then, on the first Easter morning, the empty tomb showed that Jesus had risen! He was the "first to break the bars of death" and open heaven to us. When Jesus returns in glory, we too will break the bars of death and be raised to life as He was raised.
On that day we will see the proclamation of Paul and the vision of John fulfilled, as "all on earth" and "all in heaven" claim the scepter of the King of kings and acknowledge Him as Lord. For some, His reign will be acknowledged in the terror of unbelief. But all who trust in Jesus will adore Him as King, the Son of God whose domain has no limits and whose reign is everlasting. Until that day, we claim His scepter and worship Him as King of kings and Lord of lords!
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have paid the debt I owed. With joy I await the day of Your return. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," which is number 940 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever tried to praise God when things weren't going well for you?
2. How is heaven opened to us through faith?
3. How did Jesus pay the debt we owed?
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