Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Living in the Midst of Chaos
Rev. 7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.”
Suddenly there seems to be a respite from the calamities of the opening of the seals. The wind of the Spirit is no longer blowing, people are not listening and/or responding to the work of God in the world and the stillness is in and of itself destructive. But in the midst of it all God’s remnant remains — those who have been faithful. This is a pause in the midst of the chaos, a moment of gentle reminder that God’s people remain eternally in his care.
It’s interesting reading different commentaries on this passage because they all come at it from their own particular context. I love reading old commentaries, some that go back about 1800 years, and therefore they each see this scripture a bit differently. Many identify a recent or “current event” which can be related to this passage. Those events have come and gone and there have been new events which have been seen as apocalyptic. Therefore, if we are trying to use this scripture to identify current or future events then we are not looking at it correctly. The reality is that we live in a world of chaos where over and again this scene is played out before us.
As I write this morning there are thousands of refugees from Syria stranded in a train station in Budapest, Hungary. The war in Syria is affecting many people, including numerous Christians who have been persecuted because of their faith. And the hope of the message which we read today is that when things become so radically out of control and chaos breaks out all around us, God still remembers his people.
God’s people are marked with his seal. In ancient times people would write a letter and mark it with the seal of the author. Wax was dripped onto the document and then the signet ring of the author was pressed into that wax, leaving a mark that allowed all to know to whom this letter belonged. God’s children are marked by him — not physically, but with the identifying characteristics of the Father. When people look at and observe Christ-followers they know that they belong to him, because they look and act like him.
In the midst of the chaos of the world, we still look and act like him! Today people will worry about the economy in China. The refugees from Syria will need love and care and guidance. It feels as if chaos reigns — but it does not. God reigns. This is the hope that we find in this text.
Absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God — his love which marks us with God’s seal and challenges us to live and move and reflect him today and everyday — even in the midst of chaos.
Lord, may you be reflected in me today. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.