Revelation minds us that we are dust, of our dependance on Father God.

Revelation 6 depicts God's judgement.
These are are not sequential, they are cyclical (nature of apocalyptic genre).
They have happened, are happening, will continue to happen

Revelation 5 showed the one on the throne holding a scroll which contained all God's purposes and plans for redemptive history. Then with Jesus (the slaughtered lamp) being shown as the one worthy to open the scroll it looked like its the end. Revelation 7 showed us everything getting really intense and falling apart - but the vision moves on...

Revelation 8:1-12

In the light of Revelation 5,6 how can this be happening?
How can we hold the sovereignty and judgements of God together?

Revelation 7 showed us God placing a seal on his people.
This seal does not take us out of tribulation.
Tribulation provides evidence of the power of God in the seal he puts on us.

What does this tell us about God?
Is Christan faith barbaric, out of touch with reality?
We don't want to think about judgement.
We want to concentrate on the slaughtered lamb.
We need a compass to guide us.

God Hears
Verse 1 Silence is a shock, we are looking for a resolution.
Deathening silence, unique time, worship on pause.
Does this make us feel alone?
No the opposite - the silence indicates God's intense concern.

Silence is connected with the prayers of the saints.
God totally focused. God hears you.
Father God paying attention - to you, his children.

There are few more powerful realities than that Father God pays attention to your cry.
More than a discipline of prayer - you don't have to be good at it.
His ears open to your cry. He hears before you cry!
He is not sitting aloof on the throne.
Prayer mixed with incense - a pleasing aroma.

God Answers
Incense and Prayers both come from the altar before the throne.
See Revelation 6:10 Prayer for ultimate justice.
This prayer brackets the whole book of Revelation.
Come Lord Jesus.
The prayers of the saints are the driving force behind all of human history.

Is my life marked by the hope / prayer / plea "Come Lord Jesus".
If cries for Jesus to return are absent then the people of God have forgotten who they are.
Jesus is coming - he is on his way! cf. warning about coming at an unexpected hour.

In verse 5 we see that God is already answering the prayers of his people.
The seal is already broken.
Jesus is not yet to come, he is coming! The King is on his way.

God is Holy
Peals of thunder, flashes of lightning occurs three times in Revelation.
These are tied directly to the judgements of God.

We pray "Come Lord Jesus".
Why does he not just come along and make everything alright?
Instead he answers in judgement! The images are terrible.
Remember that the nature of the genre tells us these images are symbolic.

Created order all messed up.
Judgement cannot be divorced from the nature of God.
Is God less than perfect?
Is God a little bit vengeful?
Is God patient but also short tempered?
Is God defined by love?
We cannot reconcile judgement with a God who is love.

Our prayers are answered with judgement because God is holy.
We don't understand holiness -  set apart, his is 'another'.
Holiness is more than moral purity, more than being perfect, more than set apart.
The holiness of God makes him entirely "other" - more than perfect.

We long for the holiness of God - it is written on our hearts (e.g. justice).
We crave for his Kingdom.
We long for justice for people who have wronged us.
But what about those we have wronged? We are biased.
God's justice is not perverted or short sighted - because he is holy.
The cry of our heart is merely a shadow.

God starts purging creation.
Our eyes are have adjusted to the darkness of the world, even on a "beautiful day".
The judgement of God shows that he will clear the guitly.
No impurity will be winked at and allowed to slip by.

We have a clash of kingdoms - painful place to be.
One kingdom has to give way to another.

God is Gracious
Thirteen times in revelation the phrase "third off ..." is repeated.
This is more than just judging, he is sounding a warning, getting your attention.
The warning is getting louder and louder.

God is gracious - he wants people to see where this is heading, before its too late.
God is waiting for us.
Revelation 8 is unfolding around us. We cannot fix it. We need a saviour.
The only solution is the return of Jesus Christ.
For those who hope in anything other than Christ his coming will be a horrible day.
So God waits - motivated by love, driven by grace.

John 3:13 "God so loved ..."
He also waits before sending Jesus again. 2 Peter 3:9
His patience only thing holding back his Kingdom.

God's grace is all over this.
Need to fill our minds with who God is and remind ourselves that he loves us.
We are not home yet.
We are here to be conduits of God's grace.
Proverbs 31:10-31 picture of the church (Bride of Christ) in the world. Revelation 19:7-8

Further Reading

Psalm 141
Exodus 8:6-12
Exodus 10:21-23; Isaiah 13:10