Reading Revelation 8:1-13
Chapter 8 and some of the following chapters deal with what happens as Jesus opens the seventh seal. The first part of this chapter is encouragement for the church. Their prayers are heard and are precious.
There is silence in heaven for half an hour. (1) This is an incredibly awesome thing. Through all eternity there has been worship, praises and hymns sung around the throne of God, Angels moving back and forth saying, “Holy Holy Holy” (Isaiah 6:3). And now, at this climatic moment, as Jesus opens the seventh seal, there is silence.
The silence allows God to hear prayers of the saints. I love the imagery here. The prayers of the saints are a beautiful incense. Incense is a perfume that is burned. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the most expensive perfume ever produced was by British fashion designer Clive Christian. The bottles are even decorated with a five-carat diamond on their lid; the very limited edition scent was sold in 2007 for a whopping £185,000 a bottle. It was called ‘Imperial Majesty’.
To God our prayers are more precious, of greater value than even an ocean of ‘Imperial Majesty.’ God loves it when we pray, it is the most fragrant, beautiful and exquisite thing in existence. He hears our prayers and cherishes every one of them. In chapter 5 we saw that the prayers of Christians have been gathered up in golden bowls, each one lovingly and carefully stockpiled for that perfect moment for God to act with thunder, lightning and an earthquake. (5)
In Eugene Peterson’s book on Revelation, ‘Reversed Thunder’, he writes,
“We live in a noisy world. We are yelled at, promoted, called. Everyone has an urgent message for us. We are surrounded with noise: telephone, radio, television, stereo. Messages are amplified deafeningly. The world is a mob in which everyone is talking at once and no one is willing or able to listen. But God listens. He not only speaks to us, he listens to us. His listening to us is an even greater marvel than his speaking to us. It is rare to find anyone who listens carefully and thoroughly. It is rare to find our stammering understood, our clumsy speech deciphered, our garbled syntax unraveled, sorted out and heard every syllable attended to, every nuance comprehended. Our minds are taken seriously. Our feelings are taking seriously. When it happens we know that what we say and feel are immensely important. We acquire dignity. We never know how well we think or speak until we find someone who listens to us.”
“When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’” (Luke 11:2-4)
“The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” (Revelation 8:4)
Father, you are holy, beautiful and worthy of my praise. I can barely believe that you long to hear my prayers. Thank you, that you who made the ear, hears. Thank you that you know how to give good gifts to your children. Lord would you give me a great desire for prayer and time with you. May I long to see you face to face as Moses did. In Jesus name. Amen
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