Our text today stands in stark contrast to the doom and gloom of our last reading about the fall of Babylon. It’s not the first time we’ve had an abrupt scene change, so to speak, as we’ve been reading through Revelation. Part of this book’s beauty is it’s unpredictability. What we do see as a constant theme is God’s unfailing love and patience with his fallen world. He wants the banquet table to be full.
We see a passage that ties together several main points from the New Testament. Included are praise, celebration, equality, blessedness, rejoicing, righteousness, and purity of the bride. It doesn’t matter how unworthy we may sometimes feel. “Praise our God, all his servants, all who fear him, from the least to the greatest.”
I was expecting the final trumpet to bring about something horrible. Weren’t you? Instead, there is rejoicing in heaven. God’s kingdom has fully come! We read, “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The Book of Revelation could end right here. Since it doesn’t we know there is more to come. What happens next?
The victory has been won! Will we see how the people on earth respond? Will those “of the world” finally repent? Will the faithful be rescued at last?
There’s a lot of praising going on in heaven! It’s how I would imagine it to be, too–worship happening 24/7! After all, how could you help but being overcome, giving ALL you had in praise and adoration, simply by being in the presence of God, the Father, the Almighty, the one who lives forever?! Take a moment to close your eyes, inhale deeply, and exhale slowly as you imagine being in God’s presence, no more worry or strife, and amidst the joy and reverence of others around you. What a beautiful peace!
How many times have you wondered about what heaven might be like? I’m not sure I ever pictured four beings with lots of eyes. I mean, a lot of eyes! It sounds a little creepy to me, actually. But it’s imagery that is similar to what we see in Isaiah 6. We have a glimpse there into heaven as well in Isaiah’s vision. Ezekiel 1 is also another example of God revealing to his messengers about the things to come. I think that is exactly why John is seeing the vision now. To prepare him for what’s next.
There are a couple great nuggets for us in today’s reading. But the bottom line is we don’t want to forget God, ever. I can’t say that I’ve ever “forgotten” him, but there are periods in my life when I wasn’t connected and focusing on him like I am today. There were times that I felt like he had forgotten me.
Perhaps we can see what happens when we stop relying on God. Remember the manna? The people were hungry. They were humbled by a circumstance. Who came through for them? God. He will be there for us, too. Do you feel like you are a state of being humbled by some circumstance? Are you letting it cripple you? Or do you see how God is your answer? Let him use this as a teachable moment to help you grow.
How many times do we toot our own horns? We can often get so
full of ourselves and our abilities we lose sight of where that gifting came
from. We are who we are because God made us this way. We are also shaped by
circumstance and the realities we face as inhabitants of this planet. We are
given the ability to choose our path and live our lives on our terms.
What does that look like for you? Are you feeling fulfilled?
Do you know without a doubt that you are living the life God intended for you?
Do you even care? This may seem a bit harsh, but I am curious how many people
are just going through the motions and how many are truly focused on being who
God wants them to be.