Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 – December 28 – The Great Anticipation

Study from God’s Word Revelations, Chapters 4 – 8: 6 … Passage for Reflection: Revelations 8: 1 … NIV When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about a half an hour.

My Journal for Today: Reading Revelations can be revealing, to say the least. But sometimes the figurative language is perplexing; and I require help, like that of my devotional “shepherd” this year, Dr. LaGard Smith, as he guides learners, like me, through the truths encountered in God’s word, especially the tough going in a book like God’s revelation given to the Apostle John.

Today, I was wading through the early part of John’s vision; and he writes about the opening of those seven seals by the Lamb of God (i.e., Jesus) at God’s throne; and the opening of each of the first six is accompanied by incredible visions of heavenly activity or loud (and I mean REALLY LOUD) declarations or songs of praise by the angels, the Elders, and the saints in heaven.

But then, just before the opening of the seventh – and last – seal there was opened, there was silence, specifically documented, for whatever reason, as “a half-hour” of quietude. What’s that all about?

Well, Dr. Smith helps his readers, in his devotional for today, to remember some common phrases in our language, phrases such as “the calm before the storm” or “the eye of the storm,” which are word pictures depicting a calm of anticipation which occurs before some cataclysmic occurrence, when “all hell breaks loose.”

My mind has a bit of trouble grasping the enormity of the vision God gave to John about this heavenly scene just before God’s storm of wrath and judgment was about to come down to crush and punish evil in the world. Reading on in Rev. 8 for tomorrow, I’ll be reading about the trumpet judgments which followed the opening of the seven seals. But just before the seventh seal is opened, signaling “peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake, “ there is this pregnant pause of silence for a half hour.

And to my very limited mind, this is like one of those pauses in many of the psalms, called a “selah,” which as best I’ve been able to determine means to pause and reflect upon the significance or meaning of something before and something to come. So, in the psalms, we read “selah” pronounced after a stanza or passage, which apparently is a pause in the song so that the hearer can reflect upon what they’ve heard and anticipate what is about to be sung.

And that is apparently what happened in John’s vision of heaven when, just before the opening of the seventh seal and the unfolding of God’s wrath against sin and evil in the world, all of heaven paused in silence to reflect on what had happened to bring the world to that point and to take a brief and quiet breath, in the “eye of the storm,” before the storm of God’s wrath was signaled by the trumpets to come.

My friends, Dr. Smith, as he does daily in his devotions asks a momentous question today, which is, ”If God announces His coming with silence as well as sound, does the silence I experience lead to an awful dread or glorious anticipation?”

Only you can answer that FOR YOU; but for me, at this time in my life, which is a pregnant pause of relative quiet, my “selah” signals great anticipation of whatever God will bring for me; because as I’m in this “selah” in my life, I look to that time when I will be with Jesus; and because He has covered my eternal time with His blood, I will see Him face-to-face, working in His presence and worshipping Him for eternity.

Oh how beautiful is the silence of this moment.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for this time of quiet, … this eye in the storms of my life. Amen

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