Loving Lord, today I come before You with a quiet spirit. Speak to me, Lord, in the stillness.
Read REVELATION 8:1-13
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.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures; speaks to us in our consciences, but shouts to us in our pain; it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (C.S. Lewis).
We come at last to the seventh seal, though not without hesitation. John reports the opening of the seal. This will take us beyond the end of history, but not yet. We have to experience silence and prayer before we proceed. Is the silence before the storm heralded by the trumpets? The temple image of the altar of incense symbolizes unceasing prayer. Sometimes, when everything is against us, praying is all we can do. John transforms that perspective by helping us to see that prayer is what we are called to do. We are so often taken in by appearances that we fail to see what is really happening either “behind the scenes” or in another person’s life “behind their mask.”
Instead, having reached the end of history, we start on a new cycle which continues to ch. 11. John shows us what will happen to the unbelieving world. Trumpets warn; they draw attention, forcing you to sit up and take notice. Having seen the seals opened, John now hears the trumpets’ blast. John often repeats himself in order to make his points from different perspectives. There are echoes here of the plagues in Egypt, which were meant to warn Pharaoh and the people to take the living God seriously. John describes natural and supernatural disasters which may occur at any time or in any place.
The censer, now filled with fire, is sent down to earth. Nothing is spared. The land is damaged, the sea is polluted, water supplies are affected, and darkness takes hold on the land. Yet only one third of the world is directly affected: most is left untouched. This is an opportunity for a change of life. Sadly many (including us?) often do not know how to “read the times.”
What do you see of God’s working and plan as you “read the times”? Pray for wisdom to see “behind the scenes” so that you may live faithfully and wisely in these times.
God of silence and sound, the Lord of the cosmos and my God, I worship You. Make me aware of Your presence with me today, and center me on Jesus.
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