“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”
Revelation 8:3-5 (NIV)
Good morning! Or should I say good afternoon, since it is already past 1pm here in North Carolina. Well, someone is still waking up somewhere, so good morning to you! Today, I’m sharing another poem by Jefferson Bethke entitled “Darkness is Losing.”
We are going over the Book of Revelation in my church, and while listening to this spoken word piece, my mind immediately went to Revelation 8 about the seventh trumpet and the golden censer.
I know the Book of Revelation is probably the most cryptic, intimidating, and frightening book in the Bible, and most people choose not to read it. However, despite its ominous tone, I think the passage about the angel and the golden censer is one of the most promising and exciting verses in this book. Why? Because it tells us that God will answer our prayers.
“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29
We’ve all had days when we questioned God and his intentions. Why do innocent children die of leukemia? Why are entire cities decimated by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and other natural disasters? Why do child rapists get off with a slap on the wrists? Why doesn’t God strike down murderers and liars? Why can hard workers never catch a break while evil people have things handed to them?
Sometimes we think God doesn’t hear us. Sometimes we think God allows evil to win again and again while the righteous are repeatedly persecuted. But God hears our prayers. He hears our cries for justice. When the angel fills the censer with fire from the altar and hurls it back at the earth, it signifies the start of the tribulation and the bringing of justice to God’s people. Evil will eventually be purged, and every knee will bow, every tongue confess, that He is Lord.
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly.” Luke 18:7-8
Darkness is losing. I know it may not seem like it sometimes. When we see the troubling things that are happening right here in the US, we worry if they will get worse instead of better. I say don’t give up, continue praying; God does hear us. And while he doesn’t always come when we want him to, he is always right on time.