Book Preview: This is an excerpt from the book 31 Days at Bethlehem’s Treasure (Vol.2) written by Shane Johnson.
A great devotional to pick up in December!
December 21 – Morning
“Glory to God in the highest…” Luke 2:14
Three little words: “…in the highest.” What do they mean? Upon reflection we discover they are not little words at all, but lofty ones and full of meaning. In exchange for His abject lowliness we ought to give Him the highest, fullest, greatest praise we can muster.
There are three ways we can understand the words “in the highest.” First, it might mean that God received glory in
the highest realm, the heavenly realm, as opposed to the earthly, on that night of His coming into the world. Note
that “a multitude of the heavenly host” (Luke 2:13), not just a few, but a multitude, arrived to give Him glory that first
Christmas night. Cherubim, seraphim, angels, archangels, principalities, powers, all were in attendance to witness and announce the incarnation of the Christ. In every neighbourhood, down every street, in every abode, the birth of Christ was heralded in the heavens. With a little imagination we can hear over the intercom throughout the golden street the announcement resounding: “Hallelujah! Christ is born in the city of David tonight! Go quickly! Tell the shepherds, redemption has begun!” Up to that point, the pinnacle of all angelic experience was to witness the birth of Christ. If they sang at creation (Job 38:7), surely they must have danced with joy over the incarnation.
Yet the angelic proclamation could be taken in another sense. The idea could be bound up in the degree of glory the
Lord achieved through the Incarnation, which was the highest. Never before in the history of earth, nor in the history of angels, had God so humbled Himself. The furthest He had gone in humbling Himself was “to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” (Ps. 113:6). If it was humbling to the Lord to concern Himself with the events of heaven and earth, how much more humbling must it have been to become one of its citizens?
Imagine what it would be like to be the CEO of a global company. It would be an act of humiliation just to visit and
oversee the workers who swept the floors of the factories of your corporation. Now imagine yourself becoming that
sweeper! Imagine cleaning the floors and ministering in the lunchroom to the tired, aching workers, and at the same time being treated with contempt. Such is the story of Christmas. Men and angels, let us marvel at the One who crouched so low! “Let loving hearts enthrone Him” (What Child is This, William C. Dix).
But perhaps we are to understand the angelic proclamation in yet another sense. Perhaps the idea is “Glory to God to
the highest degree.” In this sense, the angels are commanding all mankind to give God their “utmost for His highest”
(to borrow a phrase from Oswald Chambers). Yet, in the light of the humble circumstances of our Saviour’s birth, perhaps we should give our “utmost for His lowest.” Loud should be our singing. With all our might we should serve Him. Generous should be our giving. Droplets of praise are a poor exchange for rivers of blessing. Likewise, crumbs of gratitude, dispensed on Sundays only in the form of singing, are an insult to the One who daily spreads a feast for us.
Glory to God in the highest means God should get every ounce of praise due to His name. Fully God gave Himself to us; fully we should give ourselves to Him.
Let the cherubim and the flies
Let all the earth and purple skies
Let all creation’s symphony
Peacock the glory of God.