Today’s Scripture: Revelation 8
One of the most misunderstood and diversely interpreted portions of the Bible, the Book of Revelation is a study in contrasts. Revelation 8, which begins with silence in the heavens but rapidly unfolds into a dizzying series of cataclysmic events, is a worthy contributor to this divergent reality.
With its apocalyptic imagery of fire and blood raining from the heavens, stars falling onto rivers, and darkness enveloping the land, it is a frightening and foreboding chapter of a downright scary story. (I suppose it’s only natural that the manifestation of God’s judgment would provoke such feelings.) And yet, at its core, Revelation is a book of hope. Today, as LivingItOut explores Revelation 8, we discover the silver lining within its epic storm clouds.
1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. 2 I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets.
After the seventh seal is opened, fully revealing God’s planned response to the depravity of man, Revelation 8 begins with the deafening sound of silence in the heavens. On its surface, the duration of this silence—“about half an hour”—may not seem terribly dramatic. But given the backdrop, this was surely a period when minutes felt like hours.
It’s interesting to consider how often challenging or disruptive events in our lives are preceded by a brief, but disquieting silence. Sitting in the waiting room awaiting a diagnosis from the doctor, standing in the wings before taking the stage, the eerie quiet before a coming storm… in these moments, believers often turn to prayer.
And so it was at the outset of Revelation 8. The silence in the heavens was purposeful. It was a dramatic pause lending further gravity to God’s coming judgment. But more importantly, it was an opportunity for prayer. The silence reinforced the greatness of a god—our God—who is in control and who stands alone in casting judgment. The stillness enabled his people to seek him, to exalt him, and most of all, to trust him.
What we learn in Revelation is that our faith must remain fixed on Christ. When faced with an oncoming storm, we understandably tend to focus on the question of “why” we must endure it. Why does God allow evil to exist? Or, in this case, why would God unleash the maelstrom foretold by the seven trumpets?
But within these questions lies a beautiful answer: God will always provide his believers with protection from spiritual harm. If we believe in him, he will have our back. As the Baker Bible Commentary puts it, “God does not stop evil by suspending the human freedom that contributes to it but rather turns evil into an unwitting actor of his design.” Knowing this, we can see that “God can use suffering as an opportunity for unbelievers to repent and believers to refine their faith.”
The silver lining in the storms of Revelation 8 is that we are assured that God alone is in control, his triumph over evil is guaranteed, and those who embrace the silence to pledge their trust in him will be saved.
How do you typically react in the moments of calm before a coming storm? Do you descend into worry and fear, or do you lift your eyes to God for comfort and assurance?
If you are a believer, what does God’s promise of salvation mean to you? What can you do to more purposefully transform this promise into your daily reality?
Take time today to consider the powerful opportunity that is present in silence. Pray to God with open hands and welcome his love and assurance. If you find comfort in music, listen to this song as you consider the wonder of God’s promises:
Kari Jobe – Revelation Song (Official Live Video)
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your gift of salvation. Grant me the wisdom to seek you at all times, but particularly in the moments of pregnant silence before the storms of my life. Help me to always believe in your love, your promises, and your glory! Amen.
This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.
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