Gracious and merciful Lord, look on me and all Your people with Your great mercy today, I pray.
Read REVELATION 8:1-13
 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.  And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.  Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.  The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.  Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.  Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.  The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,  a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.  The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-  the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.  The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.  As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat was the result of these trumpet blasts?
Here, in the midst of the destruction of the earth, there is a pause, and there is traditional Jewish prayer (3) as described in Exodus 30:7-9. Then the first of the seven trumpets is sounded, and more destruction is unleashed on the people of the world.
There are many who see ch. 8 as a clear description of the results of humankind’s abuse of our world, and there’s certainly something valid in that argument. We read of land burning up (7), seas becoming increasingly rough and unpredictable (9), and water becoming polluted with bitterness (11). The way people have treated God’s creation is similar to the way we have treated God’s commands, and judgment is surely coming.
The trumpet blasts warn the world that judgment is inevitable, but also announce that the Kingdom of God is coming, too. The last verse, with a circling eagle of doom, can’t take away the reality that even in these disturbing visions of violence in the end times, God is in control. He is sovereign, and the victory is his! We rest secure in that.
How do you care for creation? Give thanks for the wonders of God’s creation, and commit to value it more.
Lord, You have surely done a great and marvelous thing in creation. Show me how to care for it more.