SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter begins with seven angels ready to dispense seven plagues, which will complete the wrath of God.
- Meanwhile, God's people look forward to their future and sing praise to God (verses 2-4).
- In verses 5-8 we get another glimpse into heaven, seeing the temple and the tabernacle of God, and also the seven angels (again) ready to dispense the seven final plagues.
- The song in verses 2-4, along with the image of the temple in verses 5-8, are reminiscent of parts of Israel's exodus from Egypt. The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt, but were led to their freedom and then sang a song of gratitude to God. Later they erect a tabernacle (a kind of portable tent used as a sanctuary) and God filled it with a cloud that represented his presence with his people. Later, God also filled the temple with his presence.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The context of this chapter is very negative, as angels are about to unleash plagues of God's wrath. But God's people still find reason to praise him. They look beyond the current circumstances and sing, "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways … All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." Part of what it means to have faith in God is to remember and stay focused on who he is, and to trust him, no matter how things might seem.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- What current circumstances tempt you to forget about God's faithfulness or to lose trust that he's in control? What could you do to help stay focused on who God is? How might singing worship to God in the midst of difficult times help you?