And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders (Revelation 14:2–3a).
In November of 1740, Jonathan Edwards preached a Thanksgiving Day sermon on Revelation 14:3, titled, “They Sang a New Song.” (For the sake of context, I included verse 2 in the citation above.) Throughout the message, Edwards makes much of singing, and notes:
“The music of this new song consists in holy admiration, in exalting thoughts of the glory of God and the Lamb and the great things of the gospel; and in divine love, in loving God for his excellency appearing in the face of Christ, in holy rejoicing in God and in delight and complacence [rest] of the soul in Jesus, whereby we, having not seen him, do love him [1 Pet. 1:18].”
I was struck by the phrase holy admiration. If Edwards is right that worship “consists in holy admiration” (and I believe he is), then let me provide you with three prompts for holy admiration.
Admire God because you enjoy communion with him. God did not create the world because he needed something to love. God is love (1 John 4:8). And the astounding news of the gospel is that the God who needed nothing freely shares his perfect life with imperfect people. And that includes you. Do you love God? If so, why? “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). What grace! But as we often say at Crossroads, grace is not some abstract thing. Grace has a name—Jesus Christ. We enjoy communion with the triune God because the eternal Son of God shares his sonship with us by grace: “Christ is the true Son, and so when we receive the Spirit, we are made sons.”
Admire God because you are never alone. Life in a sin-infested world often feels like walking through quicksand. It’s an exhausting slog. Failures, losses, disappointments, and tragedies pile up. Satan exploits these moments of desolation in our lives by trying to convince us that we’re alone in a harsh world and that no one cares. But that’s not true. The truth is that we are not alone because God is with us. The bookends of Matthew’s gospel prove this. The one whose name is Immanuel (Matt. 1:23) promised to be with us “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). More than that, the Holy Spirit indwells us (1 Cor. 3:16). He is our down payment (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13–14), ensuring that we will forever dwell with our King in heaven. In the meantime, as we journey home we have twenty-four hour access to the One who is ever-ready to hear our prayers: “God’s ears are alert to the human heart.”
Admire God because of the local church. Sundays are my favorite day of the week. All week long I look forward to gathering with my church family. Why? Because I’m weak, forgetful, and needy. I assume you’re the same way. Gathering with God’s people each week, singing his praises, uniting our hearts in prayer together—what could be better? Our corporate worship is what God designed it to be: a foretaste of heaven.
As is so often the case, Spurgeon was right: “My Master does not treat His servants meanly; He gives to them the way a king gives to a king. He gives them two heavens—a heaven below in serving Him here, and a heaven above in delighting in Him forever.”
May these three prompts for holy admiration inform your worship of God today.
Let’s close with a prayer from Puritan Robert Hawker (1753–1827):
“Come then, you blessed, holy, lovely one, and ravish my spiritual senses with your beauty, that my whole soul would be filled only with the love of Jesus every day. Until that day when, from seeing you here below, through your grace, I come to look upon you, and live forever in your presence, in the full beams of your glory in your throne above.”
 Jonathan Edwards, “They Sing and New Song,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 22, Sermons and Discourses 1739–1742, ed. Harry S. Stout and Nathan O. Hatch, with Kyle P. Farley (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 236.
 Athanasius, Letters to Serapion, 1. 19. 5., in Works on the Spirit: Athanasius the Great and Didymus the Blind, trans. Mark DelCogliano, Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, and Lewis Ayers (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011), 82.
 Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, rev. ed. Alistair Begg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003), August 22, evening devotion.
 Robert Hawker, “In the Beauty of Jesus,” in Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans, ed. Robert Elmer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019), 93.