Friday, November 7, 2008

Bible Study in the Book of Revelation #2...

The scripture I studied today in Seminar 5 of The Vision of His Glory; Finding Hope Through the Revelation of Jesus Christ, by Anne Graham Lotz was Rev. 21:1-8. There are several things which stood out to me as I pondered these verses.
1. God speaks with a loud voice at times v. 3
2. God speaks specifically at times v.5
3. God will be done at some time v. 6
4. God will satisfy those who are thirsty v. 6

For each of these points there are some thoughts I'd like to share.

1. God's loud voice
In the book of Revelation, there have been quite a number of verses describing God's words and actions being loud - his spoken voice with words and his action voice through nature. This is liberating to me because of some messages I got as a child. Our family - 3 sisters and 1 brother - was loud!. We all had things to say so we all tried to be heard in the limited time there was for 7 people to get things said. We were also enthusiastic, passionate and determined about things. Somehow this led to a pretty noisy household. My Dad and youngest sister were soft spoken but the rest of us liked to be heard when we had something to say. Apparently my mother had hopes of tempering my decibel level for fear I would scare off any potential suitors. I still hear her saying, "Keep your voice down, Linda, or you won't be able to find a husband." Fortunately, either her advice took root or I found the one man who wasn't deterred by decibels and I have been happily married for 42 years. But God's loud voice tells me that sometimes it's OK to be heard loudly and clearly. When we are telling His good news which is worth being heard to the ends of the earth, we can be bold and sometimes even loud.

2. God speaks specifically
The book of Revelation was recorded by the apostle John. God shows him what will happen and shows him truth about Jesus. As John is shown these things, God says to him, "Write this down." And John does that for which I am very grateful as it has made knowing the truth about Jesus possible. Throughout this book, there have been many times when God has said to John, "Write it down." God had chosen to get his message out through fallible human beings who have listened to his loud voice (or perhaps even his soft voice) and have obediently written down his words which are "trustworthy and true". Each time I have read, "Write it down", I have felt a sense that those words are for me also. I do not claim to be on the spiritual level of the Apostles nor do I hear an audible voice telling me what to write, but I have heard through my heart his encouragement to "write". May I communicate his truth as it has shaped my story.

3. God will be done
In Rev. 21: 6, God says, "It is done." He is referring to a future time when "Overcomers" will inherit all the wonderful things he is bringing about. But it's a reference to the same future time when all those who have not believed him and have done evil will find themselves "in the fiery lake of burning sulphur." These words have quickened in me greater urgency. There is a time when "it will be done." There will be no more opportunity to write, speak, share, respond. Fortunately God is patient, merciful, resourceful, creative and most of all loving. But a time will come when he is done and his justice will be carried out.

4. God will satisfy the thirsty
When I read the word "thirsty" in verse 6, it made me think about how people know to listen and respond. God says that he will "give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life." The thirsty are those who are seeking God and he knows their heart and gives them the eternally satisfying "water of life." Further thinking about this leads me to realize that my part in getting people close to the "water of life" is to create "thirst" in individuals. And what might that look like? We are told to be the "salt" of the world as salt creates thirst and thirst leads to THE water of life. I don't have lots of ideas yet about this but I'm pondering this. It seems it will help create thirst if I'm exhibiting the "fruit of the spirit" so that people will see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and then begin to wonder "How is that possible? I want that too." It's a tall order because I already know I need to improve in some of those areas before anyone will find themselves thirsty after watching my life. But what a privilege God has bestowed on us when he asked us to be his witnesses - his salt; his thirst-creators - in this world.

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