Shouting in Heaven

After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants.” And again their voices rang out: “Praise the Lord! The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!””Revelation‬ ‭19:1-3‬ ‭NLT

The Apostle John’s vision moves onto happier times. “Babylon” is no more and the celebrations in Heaven, focussed on God, declare His righteous judgements. The wrongs committed against God’s servants, during their times on earth, are finally righted. The balance between good and evil is redressed. Only what has survived the fire of God’s judgements has prevailed. We don’t know how long the party lasts, but they note that the smoke of the smouldering remains of “Babylon” ascends forever.

Heaven will be so different to what we pilgrims experience in our lives here on Planet Earth. Gold on earth, so beloved by the world’s inhabitants, is used for paving roads in the New Jerusalem. The world’s value system has either been turned upside down or doesn’t exist anymore because it is considered irrelevant. But how did it come to this? God wanted His people to be rich on earth. Take Job for example. We read in Job 42:12, “So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.” Job was a wealthy, but righteous man, and he knew the blessings of God because he had a right relationship with Him. 

But sadly, what God wanted as a blessing for His people became corrupted by the devil’s schemes. People abandoned God and instead put their faith in the worldly kingdom, in riches and wealth, without acknowledging God as their Source and Heavenly Father. Hence the birth of “Babylon”.

Our loving Heavenly Father was never going to let this state of affairs last forever, and our verses today describe the party going on in Heaven. Let’s make sure we are there to enjoy it as well.

Father God. Can we hear in our spirits the shouting and singing reverberating around the Heavens? In faith we reach out to You, confident, through Your Son, Jesus, of our place there with all Your people. We are so grateful. Amen.

Our Security

“When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favour, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then You turned away from me, and I was shattered.” Psalms‬ ‭30:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Where does our security lie? That question underpins these verses. And the answer is probably one of the main reasons why, in our Western society, it can be difficult to reach people with the Gospel. As in the Psalmist David’s day, personal wealth leads to pride and an overriding sense of self reliance. The pursuit of wealth drives people into a hamster-wheel materialistic life that has no room for God and His kingdom. So from that context, a relationship with God does not seem to them to be relevant. Who are the wealthy in our culture? The reality is that most people are, to a greater or lesser extent, and they find security in their comfortable lives.

But this house of cards can come tumbling down if a catastrophe occurs. A job is lost, an unexpected expense appears, investments go wrong and evaporate. And, as the Psalmist says, they are shattered. A house built on a foundation of sand will crumble during the onslaught of the storms of life.

So we thank God for our prosperity. We thank Him for His favour. But we don’t hold onto what we have so tightly that we are destroyed if it is taken away. The story of Job in the Old Testament is fascinating, and perhaps like Job we must have the attitude, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”” (‭‭Job‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬).