Revelation 4-6 and Psalm 23
It is difficult to miss the irony from pairing these two readings. As helpless, wandering lambs, we need the tender care of a strong shepherd who leads us to nourishment, restores us, protects us, and gives us rest in his goodness and mercy (Psalm 23). Yet our Good Shepherd himself became a lamb, led not to green pastures but led to slaughter for our sins, rising again in victory.
So, in that magnificent scene in the heavens in which all of heaven and earth are worshiping the triune God, we behold the glorious, risen, triumphant Lamb still bearing the stigma of his death (Rev 5:6). He alone is worthy to open the seals for the very reason that he gave his blood to ransom the people of every nation (Rev 5:9–10).
This Lamb will also judge his enemies on the earth. As he breaks each seal of the scroll and the judgments are read, the long-awaited day of judgment begins. And those who thought to triumph over him, from the least to the greatest, to “the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful” cry out for the mountains and rocks to fall on them to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:15–17).
Who would have thought that such an innocent, gentle creature like a lamb could unleash such judgment! But this is the wisdom of our God, who takes the weak things of the earth and confounds the mighty. Paul says that we ourselves can feel like helpless lambs. Yet we will prevail in the strength of the one who loves us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:35–39).