Putting God's Word into Practice…

Revelation 8:1-6 ~ God Hears Prayer

on July 22, 2014

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.  I can’t imagine how that felt after the deafening sound of peals of thunder around the throne and the throngs of people and angels worshiping God in loud voices.  Only One with supreme authority can command such quiet.  I wonder if when the seal was opened there was so much anticipation and expectation that people/angels couldn’t speak but only wait to see what the Lord would do.

Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 

In Hebrews we learn that the Israelite tabernacle was an earthly copy or shadow of the heavenly throne room of God.  Yesterday I studied Exodus 30 to find out about the incense altar.  The incense altar was directly in front of the mercy seat where God’s presence would dwell and where He said, “I will meet with you” (Exodus 30:6).  Only there was a veil between the two because His holiness required separation from the people’s–even the priests’–sinfulness.  However, when Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn in two signifying full access to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  (Matthew 27:51)  In fact, Hebrews 4:16 says we can draw near to God with confidence to receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.

The incense before the presence of the Lord had to be burning continually, just like we are called to pray without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  The incense was a special recipe that was only to be used before the Lord.  It was set apart as holy to the Lord, therefore, no one was allowed to keep it for common use in their homes or as perfume.  This reminded me that our prayers are to be set apart for the Lord’s will and purposes and not for our selfish gain or satisfaction.  Thankfully, we have the Spirit of God inside of us who intercepts our prayers and makes them align with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27).

Our prayers mix with the incense and burn continually before the throne of God.  Isn’t that awesome!  They are a beautiful and fragrant offering to Him, and they permeate the air in His presence.  The smell of them probably lingers on His clothes!  He made it so they would be inescapable from His power and presence.  Wow!

Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

In this case, the prayers were for God to exact righteous judgment on the earth. Prayers about unjust suffering (and all prayers) will be answered in God’s timing.  Wait in heightened expectation to see what He will do!

But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him. Habakkuk 2:21. I encourage you today to pray, and sit silently before the Lord.  Undistracted and expectant!

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